design classic: PK25 by Poul Kjærholm 1951


Poul Kjærholm designed some of the most beautiful and most striking of chairs of the modern period of Danish design.

At the age of 15 he was apprenticed to a cabinet maker in his home town of Hjørring in Jutland but moved to Copenhagen in 1948 where he continued his training at the Kunsthåndværkerskolen - the School of Arts and Crafts - then based at the Kunstindustrimuseet - now Designmuseum Danmark. It was Hans Wegner who introduced him to the industrial design of Germany and to Ejvind Kold Christensen, then establishing a company that manufactured pieces by both Wegner and then Kjærholm. The younger designer moved across almost completely to using industrial materials rather than wood although he used natural materials, particularly leather, with amazing almost stark effects which emphasises the clean precise lines of the furniture that bring his designs closer to engineering and certainly a long way from the forms and techniques of cabinet making.

The PK25 was made from a sheet of steel that was cut and then shaped in a hydraulic press, and given a matt chrome finish and with a single length of sailing rope wrapped around for the seat and back.