October 2, 2023


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The Artichoke Light by Louis Poulsen: A Timeless Icon of Danish Design


For over half a century, the Artichoke Light by Danish lighting design company Louis Poulsen has been an iconic symbol of Danish design. Its unique and sculptural form has captivated designers and design enthusiasts alike, earning it a place in galleries, museums, and fashionable interiors around the world.

In this article, we will explore the history of the Artichoke Light, its design and engineering, its impact on the world of design, and its continuing relevance today.

The History of the Artichoke Light

The Artichoke Light was designed in 1958 by Danish architect Poul Henningsen. Henningsen was already famous for his innovative lighting designs, but the Artichoke became his masterpiece.

The design was inspired by Henningsen’s visits to Tivoli Gardens, an amusement park in Copenhagen, where he studied the structure and arrangement of the leaves of artichoke plants. He wanted to create a lighting fixture that would diffuse light in a way that was soft and natural, and the artichoke provided the perfect inspiration.

The original Artichoke Light was made of copper and had 72 leaves arranged in 12 rows of six. Each leaf was positioned at a unique angle to ensure that the light would be diffused evenly in all directions while blocking any glare.

Today, the Artichoke Light comes in a variety of sizes, materials, and finishes, but its essential design remains the same. It is still made by Louis Poulsen in Denmark, using the same techniques and craftsmanship as the original.

The Design and Engineering of the Artichoke Light

The Artichoke Light is not only beautiful but also brilliantly engineered. Each leaf is made of steel or aluminum, depending on the finish, and is carefully crafted to ensure that it can be fitted exactly to its neighbors in a perfect spiral. The leaves are then mounted on a frame that supports the weight of the fixture and distributes the light evenly.

The result is a lighting fixture that not only looks stunning but works perfectly, diffusing light without any harsh shadows or hotspots. The Artichoke Light has become a symbol of Danish engineering and craftsmanship, admired around the world.

The Impact of the Artichoke Light on Design

The Artichoke Light has had a significant impact on the world of design. Its unique and sculptural form has become an icon of Danish design and inspired countless imitations and variations over the years.

Designers and architects have used the Artichoke Light in countless settings, from chic restaurants and boutiques to modernist homes and art galleries. Its timeless elegance and versatility continue to make it a popular choice today, over 60 years after its creation.

Its influence can be seen in many contemporary designs as well, with its sculptural appearance and ability to disperse light inspiring more recent lighting fixtures such as the AY Illuminate Z5 Pendant Light and the Flos IC Lights Suspension Pendant by Michael Anastassiades.