Tha danish designer Poul Kjaerholm studies at the Danish School of Art and Crafts in Copenhagen, where he acquiresgreat experience and skills of excelence.
There he realises his graduation final project under the direction of his internationally renown designer profesor Hans J. Wegner, the « Element chair » made of a steel stucture .
It rapidly captures the interest of the design comunity , specially the one of Søren Hansen directorof Fritz Hansen company at that time, and already reflects the innovative personality of the designer, his love for steel and the line of his future creations.
The Element chair also named PK 25 is made of one single nickel steel bended frame, the only added piece being the transversal back part wich allow to tense the halyard wich shapes the seat and the backseat. An ingenious design combining flowing line, clearness of the structure, and transparent seat. The simplicity of its structure and materials is borrowed from his profesor’s iconic design, the Flag Halyard chair.
PK 25 or "Element chair"
The « Element chair » is at the source of the PK 22 chair, wich is directly inspired by its lines and will soon be one on the most impotant creations of the designer’s career, emboddying the will of Poul Kjaerholm to reach the perfect shape brought to an industrial production.
The PK22 frame has nonetheless been divided in two parts to comply to the available industrial tools.
As the steel frame is transparent and light, the chair sit slighly on the floor allowing the space to spread around.
Poul kjaerholm’s furnitures incorporate the room thanks to their scale and their flowing design, they create the architectural presence of the space. Their proportion is a fundamental matter to the designer, Poul Kjaerholm considers the object as an entity in its own wich has to participate to the architecture of the room where it stands and interacts with the surrounding space as to transcend its status as object. He designs low furnitures to create a lower horizon in the room, and this way lifts the ceiling height.
Freely inspired by Mies Van der Rohe and Breuer he also uses bended steel plate. The transparant aspect of the brushed and polished steel plate and the endless oportunities this one allows combined to its resistance and flexibility, are as many reasons to be Poul kjaerholm’s favorite
material, but there are some more.
He will himself describe the qualities and own carasteristics of plated steel, the impotance of the reflected light on its surface wich is part of the designer's artistic work.
The patina of the steel that beautify with the time and allows him to use it as a natural material with the same creative qualities than leather, wood or cane.Therefore he uses cane or leather for the PK 22 seat, wich will replace the halyard used for the PK 25 some years before.
The PK 22 is aclaimed by the professionals and immediatly knows a big commercial success. In 1957, the chair wins the Grand Prix at Milan Triennale, and definitly ensures the designer’s recognition on the international scene.
It is still edited by Fritz Hansen nowardays and more than ever up to date.