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The Custom Lighting Design of the Artichoke Light

Jun 14, 2022 | Architect, Architecture, Custom Lighting, Featured Professional, Featured Projects, Interior Design, interior designer, Lighting

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We were shocked when we thought that nothing would impress us on the topic of custom lighting design. Then we came across the revolutionary Artichoke Light created by Poul Henningsen. Poul Henningsen, referred to as PH for short, was a Danish architect and designer associated with and responsible for the PH-lamp series. 

PH started as an architect, and as time went by, his interests leaned to lighting design which has now become his legacy. 

Although technically a fixture, the Artichoke Light can go under the custom lighting design category. PH took an old design concept and created a new light. That is the definition of custom lighting design.

The story of how everything came about goes as follows: In 1958, architects Eva and Nils Koppel asked him to design custom lighting for Copenhagen’s Langelinie Pavilion restaurant. So PH returned and re-examined his designs from decades earlier that resembled an upside-down artichoke. 

We guessed his connection to using this design was because it was for a restaurant, and these designs looked like artichokes. We could be wrong in our speculation, but we are right that these turned out to be genius. The design used 72 copper leaves to hide the lightbulb completely. This gave off a spontaneous emission of light because of the placement of the leaves he had designed. PH also painted the underside of the leaves a pale pink, giving everyone in the restaurant a beautifully lit rosy glow.

To fully understand the impact of not being able to see the light source, you need to remember back then, a lamp was just a lamp and not a beautiful decorative piece. It was just light. PH thought of both – this is what made it revolutionary. 

PH made five different versions of the Artichoke Light, which the original manufacturer still sells today. The Artichoke Light is gorgeous and stands up to the test of time on many levels. 

Photo Credit: MoMA


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