Poul Henningsen spent multiple years working on the PH lamp. He tried out his first ball lamp with slats in 1921, and that same year, he drew the PH streetlight. A few years later, his new-found experience granted him admission to a modern craftsmanship exhibition in Paris. This was thanks to his lampshades, which distributed the direction and reflection of the rays of light with remarkable precision.
It was at this moment that the lamp manufacturer Louis Poulsen noticed Poul Henningsen’s design and gave him the task of creating ten different lamps for the exhibition. The lamps were exhibited under the name “Système PH” and won first prize in all six lighting fixture categories.
Since then, their partnership has led to the creation of numerous design classics. Including Poul Henningsen’s Artichoke
, and last, but not least,PH Snowball
. Based on his own experiences and new calculations for the reflection of light, Poul Henningsen developed a lamp with three curvilinear lampshades in 1926 – the PH lamp
! The lamp was made to create the same angle between the lampshade and the rays of light. This meant that direct light did not escape but rather was reflected in the desired direction. He himself described the lamp as a plate, a bowl, and a mug with a scale of 4:2:1.
Since then, Louis Poulsen has presented hundreds of different PH lamps in the forms of chandeliers and standing, wall, ceiling, and table lamps. All built on the same simple three-shade system.