Our gold medal find at Port 33 Vintage

As I mentioned, one of the reasons Tom and I included Denmark on this trip was to explore more deeply my mad love of Danish design. It is so clean and well designed and well made and beautifully proportioned. It is functional but it lasts.

Mogensen (who I mentioned yesterday re: the film we saw at the Design Museum) studied under Kaare Klint, a father of Danish design who emphasized top quality and perfect craftsmanship. He also felt strongly that anything superfluous to function should be stripped away. So upholstery? Out. Mogensen then worked for FDB Møbler under Frederick Nielson. FDB's mission was to provide functional, comfortable furniture to the general population. 

Anyway, during this creative heyday, the preeminent lighting designer in Denmark was Poul Henningsen. For 42 years he designed all manner of lamp for Louis Poulsen, a renowned lighting manufacturer. Henningsen's various models are so common globally that you've probably seen them, or copies inspired by them, without even realizing it. Here are some examples...

^   PH Artichoke; PH 3½; PH 5   ^

Yesterday, on a break from eating pulled pork sandwiches and tacos, we walked to Port 33 Vintage, a market just outside of Reffen's back entrance. It is a huge warehouse full of dust and treasures and junk, the sort of place you have to spend time searching through but in which might be some gold medal discoveries.

As I meandered through vases and port glasses and broken kids' toys and seemingly infinite mid-century chairs, I spied what looked like a PH 5. Dirty, yes, but the metal screens were unbent, the spacers were all in alignment, and the colored parts were the most delightful red and blue, one of my faves. I checked the neck, and there was the label: Louis Poulsen. Model and other original markers were there too. 

I started to get the total-body feeling of thrill. Here I was. In Copenhagen, the birthplace of Poul Henningsen, to see Danish design in the flesh. And a real piece, not a remake could maybe be mine. I texted my darling cousin who is a designer. 

"Doll- it's em and I'm at a vintage market in Copenhagen where I have found this original Poulsen pendant. What do you think?"

His response was to "Snatch that up and never let go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

I negotiated to 1050 Danish kroner which, even knowing that the cord needed replacing and not knowing exactly what I'd find under the accumulated dirt, I knew was a fabulous deal. 

After the renting of the bikes and going to and from Christianshavn to find an ATM and knocking on the closed market door with a beer once finally back but after watching England score the first goal, the dealer told me how to take the lamp apart should I need/want to and packed it in a filthy, ancient box. I promised I would carry it home as a personal item. He was such a dear.


On the metro home, a random Dane peered into the box and said, "Oh! A vintage PH lamp. Did you just find it?"

"Yes," I said. "I just got it at a vintage place." He asked how much, I told him, and he was all "You got a GREAT deal. Especially since it's the red one. That's the best. Usually those go for around 2000 or more kroner. You are lucky. Great find."

I felt smugly wonderful in front of Tom who thus far had largely supported this mad endeavor simply because he loves me. Which is absolutely enough, but I suspect there may have been an interior eye roll in Port 33. There are NO more eye rolls now. Darling man immediately started researching authentic replacement cords (he found a great site and ordered everything today after we saw the current PH 5 models [version 6 now] in a store today). Cooler than cool is that we are nearly certain that ours is a version 3 manufactured here in Denmark in 1988 AND this year, 2018, is the 60th anniversary of the PH 5 lamp itself!!

I am just in heaven. What a special find on a special trip! We carefully took the lamp apart, cleaned it all (unbelievable what great condition it is in), and packed it in the materials we'd brought (I always travel with both bubble and foam wrap, tissue paper, and packaging tape) plus the repurposed box from the market. I can't wait to see this beauty hanging above my reading chair in our room.