Shining a Light on Arne Jacobsen’s Timeless Lighting Designs


Arne Jacobsen was a Danish architect and designer who gained fame in the mid-20th century for his modernist designs. His minimalist approach and attention to detail made him a master of his craft. One of his most significant contributions was in lighting design, where he created some of the most iconic lamps of the era. In this article, we will explore the history behind Arne Jacobsen’s lighting designs and their enduring popularity.

Early Life and Career of Arne Jacobsen

Arne Jacobsen was born in 1902 in Copenhagen, Denmark. After completing his education in architecture at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 1927, he worked for some of Denmark’s finest architects before opening his studio in 1930. Over the next few years, Jacobsen gained a reputation as a gifted designer, and his range of work expanded beyond traditional architecture to include furniture, textiles, and lighting.

The AJ Lamp

One of Arne Jacobsen’s most recognizable designs is the AJ Lamp. Initially created in 1957 for the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel in Copenhagen, the lamp’s minimalist design and clean lines symbolized the modernist movement of the time. The AJ Lamp was designed to direct the light downwards, making it ideal for reading or working. The lamp’s sleek design has made it a timeless classic, and it still looks modern today, over 60 years after its creation.

The Louis Poulsen Collaboration

Throughout his career, Arne Jacobsen worked for a variety of clients and companies, but his most significant partnership was with the Danish lighting manufacturer Louis Poulsen. Jacobsen started working with Louis Poulsen in 1925 and designed many of the company’s most iconic lamps, including the PH Lamp, which he designed in collaboration with the company’s founder, Poul Henningsen.

The PH Lamp

The PH Lamp was one of Arne Jacobsen’s most famous designs. Created in 1926, the lamp’s three shades were designed to direct the light downwards and to diffuse it evenly, creating a soft, warm glow. The PH Lamp’s sophisticated design quickly made it popular, not just in Denmark but around the world. Today, the PH Lamp is considered a Danish design classic and is still produced by Louis Poulsen.

The Bellevue Lamp

Arne Jacobsen’s Bellevue Lamp, named after the Bellevue Theater in Copenhagen, was designed for the theater in 1929. The Bellevue Lamp’s sophisticated design features a movable arm, allowing the user to adjust the lamp’s position and the direction of the light. The Bellevue Lamp was a departure from the traditional lamp designs of the time and helped cement Arne Jacobsen’s reputation as a pioneering designer.


Arne Jacobsen’s lighting designs were an integral part of his work as an architect and designer. His minimalist approach and attention to detail created lasting designs that remain popular to this day. Jacobsen’s collaborations with Louis Poulsen resulted in some of the most iconic lamps of the modern era, and his Bellevue Lamp helped shape the direction of lamp design in the mid-20th century. Arne Jacobsen’s lighting designs continue to inspire designers today, and his legacy as a master of design remains secure.

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