The fixture provides a comfortable, glare-free light, based on the principle of Poul Henningsen’s reflective three-shade system, which directs the majority of the light downwards. It emits a lateral light as well as illuminating itself, providing a soft radiance from within its core. The lower shade is furthermore fitted with a frosted diffuser glass to ensure that the downward directed light is 100% glare-free.
Poul Henningsen developed the PH 5 in 1958 in response to constant changes made to the shape and size of incandescent bulbs by bulb manufacturers, naming it after the size of the pendant’s main shade, which is 50 cm in diameter. When the lamp was introduced, he wrote, typically daringly, about how he had lost faith in whether the manufacturers of incandescent light bulbs would ever learn to consider common sense or have the consumer’s best interests at heart: “I have accepted fate, and with Louis Poulsen´s permission I have designed a PH fixture, which can be used with any kind of light source, Christmas lights and 100 W metal filament bulbs.
Although a fluorescent tube would be too much to ask in the existing form!” Henningsen wanted to improve the colour reproduction characteristics of the light source in the PH 5. Small red and blue shades were therefore inserted to supplement the colour in the part of the spectrum where the eye is least sensitive – the red and blue areas – thereby subduing the light in the middle yellow-green region where the eye is most sensitive. At the time, no one knew that the PH 5 would become synonymous with the PH light, which remains 100% glare-free, irrespective of how the light is installed or which light source is used.
The red and blue rings are however no longer necessary to achieve superior light quality, since today’s light sources reproduce daylight far better than in Henningsen’s time. Nonetheless, PH 5 continues to elevate even the most modern interiors in a range of colours today. In 2020, the range was extended with monochrome variants, in black, white and ultra blue.
In 2022, the PH 5 Pastels series is introduced featuring both monochrome pastel colours Oyster Grey and Pale Rose, as well as two combinations of pastels, which reflect modern interior trends, namely: Oyster Grey, Blue, and Pale Rose, and Blue, Pale Rose and Peach.
Design Year: 1958
Light source: 1x75W E27
Material: white matt lacquered aluminum
Anti-glare shade: pink
Struts: bronze, rolled aluminum
Cord Length: 3m
Cord type: White fabric
Size: W500 x H267 x L500 mm
Poul Henningsen , 1925-1926
The very influential Danish designer, architect, writer, and cultural critic, Poul Henningsen (1894-1967), has had a huge impact on Danish thinking and design. His legacy is an integrated part of Louis Poulsen’s endeavor to shape light.
Poul Henningsen was born in Copenhagen in 1894 as the son of the Danish writers Agnes Henningsen and Carl Ewald. He started practicing traditional functionalist architecture, but over the years his professional interests changed to focus mainly on lighting, which is what he is most famous for.
He also expanded his field of occupation into areas of writing, becoming a journalist and an author. For a short period at the beginning of WWII, he was the head architect of the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen. But like many other creative people, he was forced to flee Denmark during the German occupation but soon became a vital part of the Danish colony of artists living in Sweden.
His lifelong collaboration with Louis Poulsen began in 1925 and lasted until his death. To this day, Louis Poulsen still benefits from his genius. Poul Henningsen was also the first editor of the company magazine “NYT”. The CEO of Louis Poulsen at the time, Sophus Kaastrup-Olsen, gave the magazine to PH as a gift because he had been terminated from the Danish newspaper he worked for (his opinions were too radical).
Poul Henningsen's pioneering work concerning the relations between light structures, shadows, glare, and color reproduction—compared to man’s need for light remains the fondation of the lighting theories still practiced by Louis Poulsen.
In 1924, Poul Henningsen created his influential Paris lamp for Louis Poulsen, and the origin of how we still design to shape light can directly be traced back to his views on the dualities of design and light.
Founded in 1874, Louis Poulsen is a Danish lighting manufacturer born out of the Scandinavian design tradition where form follows function. The function and design of our products are tailored to reflect and support the rhythm of natural light. Every detail in the design has a purpose. Every design starts and ends with light.
We believe in passionate craftsmanship that produces quality lighting and design products that are pleasing to the eye and to the light.
In close partnership with designers, architects and other talents like Poul Henningsen, Arne Jacobsen, Verner Panton, Øivind Slaatto, Alfred Homann, Oki Sato and Louise Campbell, we have established ourselves as one of the key global suppliers of architectural and decorative lighting. Defying traditional product categories, our products serve and span the professional and private lighting markets for both indoor and outdoor applications.