PK0 Chair by Poul Kjærholm

The PK0 Chair, designed in 1952 by Poul Kjærholm, is a unique piece in the history of modern furniture design. Today a design icon, the design for this chair was long lost in the archives until it was eventually produced in 1997.

In 1952, the young Poul Kjærholm (1929 – 1980) designed the chair for Fritz Hansen. The chair was characterized by its modern design with flowing, curved lines. At the time, he was inspired by the organic language of artists such as Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth and Hans Arp1.

Despite its innovative design, the PK0 Chair initially could not be realized due to the complexity and the demanding wood molding techniques required. At that time, the shaping pushed the existing techniques to their limits, which is why only a few prototypes exist. This eventually led to the discontinuation of the collaboration between Kjærholm and Fritz Hansen, and the chair design was forgotten for decades.1

Poul Kjærholm, Lounge Chair, Model No. PK0, designed 1952, executed 1997, number 483 from an edition of 600, produced by Fritz Hansen, Denmark, lacquered beech plywood, 67.9 x 65.4 x 63.5 cm © Image Courtesy Sotheby's
PK0 was produced in 1997 for the first time in a limited edition of 600 pieces. This piece is number 483 from 1997, found via Sotheby’s. © Lounge Chair, Model No. PK0, 1997, black lacquered beech plywood, Image Courtesy Sotheby’s
Poul Kjærholm, Lounge Chair, Model No. PK0, designed 1952, executed 1997, number 483 from an edition of 600, produced by Fritz Hansen, Denmark, lacquered beech plywood, 67.9 x 65.4 x 63.5 cm © Image Courtesy Sotheby's
Poul Kjærholm, Lounge Chair, Model No. PK0, designed 1952, executed 1997, number 483 from an edition of 600, produced by Fritz Hansen, Denmark, lacquered beech plywood, 67.9 x 65.4 x 63.5 cm © Image Courtesy Sotheby’s

It was not until 1997 that the PK0 Chair was produced for the first time in a limited edition of 600 pieces and became available on the market. In addition to the chair, Kjærholm also designed a matching coffee table, the PK60, which also never went into production.

Poul Kjærholm was a visionary for his time and is today one of the most important representatives of Danish design. After completing a carpentry apprenticeship in 1948, he studied furniture design at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 1952. His designs are known for their simple, minimalist aesthetics and their ability to unite art and design.

Although Kjærholm initially used rounded, soft shapes, he later focused more on a straightforward and linear aesthetic. This was influenced by designers such as Gerrit Rietveld, Mies van der Rohe and Charles and Ray Eames. In later years, Kjærholm became known above all for his furniture made of steel, leather and glass, such as the PK22 Chair.

In 1982, Fritz Hansen secured the rights to Poul Kjærholm’s designs and has marketed them ever since, giving Kjærholm’s classic and timeless designs a firm place in the design world.

Poul Kjærholm, Lounge Chair, Model No. PK0, designed 1952, executed 1997, number 483 from an edition of 600, produced by Fritz Hansen, Denmark, lacquered beech plywood, 67.9 x 65.4 x 63.5 cm © Image Courtesy Sotheby's
Poul Kjærholm © Image Courtesy Sotheby’s
Poul Kjærholm, Lounge Chair, Model No. PK0, designed 1952, executed 1997, number 483 from an edition of 600, produced by Fritz Hansen, Denmark, lacquered beech plywood, 67.9 x 65.4 x 63.5 cm © Image Courtesy Sotheby's
Poul Kjærholm © Image Courtesy Sotheby’s

Further Reading / Resources

  1. https://www.markanto.de/pk0a-sessel.html

https://www.fritzhansen.com/de/categories/by-series/pk0a/pk0a?sku=PK0A-CA195
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poul_Kjærholm
https://www.carlhansen.com/de-de/dede/designer/poul-kjarholm

Aesence is an independent art and design publication dedicated to minimalist aesthetics. Founded out of a deep appreciation and fascination, Aesence aims to promote awareness and appreciation of minimalism in art and design.