Poul Henningsen designed the three-shade-system back in 1925-26. In collaboration with Louis Poulsen, Henningsen designed the first lamps to use the system for an exhibition in Paris. This partnership continued up until Henningsen's death in 1967. Throughout his life, Henningsen sought to create direct, glare-free light that provided illumination where it was needed most—and to create soft shadows, using incandescent bulbs as a light source.
PH 80 belongs to Henningsen’s three-shade family. Henningsen did not just design a light—he designed an entire system, with around a thousand different models being produced over the years. Henningsen was the first to pursue a scientific approach to lighting, using a logarithmic spiral as his starting point. By basing his design on the logarithmic spiral, he achieved an even distribution of light across the entire curvature of the shade. This even light distribution, combined with the diffused reflection through the glass, made it possible to control glare and shadows. Due to its distance from the light source, each shade equally reduces the amount of light.
PH 80 is based on this same three-shade design. PH80, the lamp's model number, does not refer to the top shade's diameter, which is the system that usually applies to the three-shade models. The light was created in 1974 after Henningsen’s death to mark the 80th anniversary of his birth—hence the name PH 80.
The original PH 80, designed in 1974, features a characteristic red top reflector that provides warm and atmospheric lighting. The opal acrylic shades add a fresh look and provide attractively diffused ambient light.
PH 80 was later introduced in a black and a white finish with a smoother surface on the base compared to the slightly more rough surface on the classic version.
The black PH 80 has a black top plate and a white top reflector for a clean, elegant look and pleasant light distribution. The stand and socket holder are matte-black, which adds a beautiful contrast to the opal acrylic shades for a more graphic look.
The white version adds a minimalist all-white design to the PH 80 range with its white top reflector, top plate, and stand. This monochrome color palette completes the PH 80 series with modernized and subtle alternatives to the classic PH 80.