Poul Kjaerholm was one of the leading furniture designers to emerge from Denmark alongside Arne Jacobsen and Hans Wagner. Originally from Jutland, a small town in the center of Denmark about 200 miles northwest of Cophenhagen, Kjaerholm apprenticed as a cabinet maker before moving to Copenhagen to attend the School of Arts, Crafts and Design.
While taking an industrial design class he became fascinated with the potential of using steel in his work. Kjaerlom felt steel presented a different set of design possibilities from the way legs and other structural components were typically built with wood. The foundation for his work culminated when he completed the PK 25, often referred to as the “Easy Chair” or the “Element Chair”, for his graduate thesis in 1951. The back and seat were strung with halyard, a rope typically used to hoist a sail or flag. For the PK 25 Kjaerholm wrapped the rope around a single piece of chromium plated steel used as the frame. The beauty of the steel is that it was a single metal piece which was bent and curved without any joints or connections. In subsequent pieces such as the PK 22 he also incorporated woven cane and leather.
The combination of rope and steel laid the groundwork for an extensive collection of simple, elegant furniture. The style of his work transcends fads, and his ability to integrate steel in such an organic way was unmatched at the time. Kjaerholm originals are highly sought after by designers perhaps because his furniture provides a level of flexibility, looking amazing in so many different interiors.