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PH: Philosophy of light (3/3)

Poul Henningsen PH5 Pendant Lamp

In the reality television series Million Dollar Listing New York a PH 5 pendant lamp appears in an apartment for sale.

PH 5 Pendant Lamp in Million Dollar Listing New York (2016)

Many thanks to Marjan from Vintage Drachten for the beautiful pictures and the enthusiasm.


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Poul Henningsen PH 5 Pendant Lamp


Materials: White painted metal. Porcelain socket.

Cord Length: 65 cm  / 25.59”

Height: 24 cm / 13.77”

Width: ∅ 50 cm / 13.77”

Electricity: 1 bulb E27, max 100 watt, 110/220 volt.
Any type of light bulb can be used, not a specific one preferred.

Period: 1950s – Mid-Century Modern.

Designer: Poul Henningsen (1894 – 1967).

Manufacturer: Louis Poulsen & Co A/S, Copenhagen, Denmark.

This pendant lamp is a member of the of PH 3-shade family principles, which were developed in 1925-1926 for a large exhibition hall in Copenhagen, Denmark called “Forum“.

The PH 5 provides a primarily downward illumination. It is based on the principle of a reflecting multi-shade system, creating a harmonious and 100% glare free illumination.

The PH in the name of this lamp stands for Poul Henningsen and the 5 represents the diameter of 50 cm. This pendant lamp was designed in 1958.

Louis Poulsen

Louis Poulsen & CO A/S is a Danish lighting manufacturer that was founded in 1874 by Ludvig R. Poulsen as a wine importing business. 4 years later the firm closed down. However, in 1892 Ludvig Poulsen opened his second business, this time selling tools and electrical supplies.

Two years later in 1896 his nephew Louis Poulsen started to work for the company. After the dead of Ludvig in 1906, Louis takes over the business.
In 1911 Sophus Kaastrup-Olsen becomes a partner in the firm and the name changes in Louis Poulsen & Co A/S. Six years later Sophus Kaastrup-Olsen becomes the sole owner of the company.

In 1924 designer Poul Henningsen begins working for Louis Poulsen & Co A/S. They take part of the “Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs & Industriels Modernes”. (International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts) in Paris and they earned Gold medals for their lamps.

The best known designers that worked for Louis Poulsen are Arne Jacobsen, Verner Panton, Vilhelm Lauritzen, Shoichi Uchiyama and many others.

Poul Henningsen

Poul Henningsen was born on 9 September 1894 and studied as an architect, but he never graduated.

He devoted much of his life to exploring the importance of light for well-being and focused on creating lamps that produced glare-free illumination.

His self-titled PH series was his most famous collection. Often said he was the first real lighting architect. His best-known lamp models are the PH Artichoke and the PH 5.

He was a very versatile man; during the 1920s Poul Henningsen had his literary breakthrough and was politically committed to the left wing. At the same time he began as a revue writer, the so-called PH-revues from 1929 until 1932.

In 1931 he designed the PH Grand Piano, one of the most beautiful wing piano’s ever made.

Before the Second World War he took part of the anti-fascist propaganda, always trying to connect culture and politics. During the war he kept a lower profile and fled to Sweden but tried to keep the spirit going by camouflaged resistance poetry.

After the war he dissociated himself from the communists who were criticizing him for flabbing humanitarianism for his growing skepticism about the Soviet Union. In his last years in the 1960s he became a member of the Danish Academy. Poul Henningsen died on 31 January 1967 at the age of 73.

(external links open in a new window)

Louis Poulsen website

Poul Henningsen biography on Wikipedia

The Poul Henningsen story on the Louis Poulsen website

Louis Poulsen history on Wikipedia

The Danish Academy on Wikipedia

The PH Artichoke on Wikipedia

The PH Grand Piano website

Poul Henningsen in 1000 Lights: 1878-1959 from Taschen by Charlotte Fiell and Peter Fiell

Follow the Money (Danish TV series) on Wikipedia

Follow the Money (Danish TV series) on IMDB

Million Dollar Listing New York on Wikipedia

Blog visit London – Denmark in London: Madsen Restaurant

Other lamps in the movies on Vintageinfo

Louis Poulsen lamps on Vintageinfo

The PH 5 pendant lamp was used a s a prop in the Danish TV-series Follow the Money from 2016. The original Danish name is Bedrag (deception). It is a financial crime thriller that has run for 2 seasons and it has 20 episodes in total.

Follow the Money TV Series (2016)

Used to decorate restaurant Madsen in London, UK. The restaurant is no longer open, unfortunately.

Louis Poulsen PH5 Pendant Lamps - Restaurant Madsen London