Peter Karpf

DENMARK (1940)

In 1967, Interior Design magazine featured 27-year-old Peter Karpf alongside his transparent acrylic resin light fixture. The Danish architect-designer had already designed a series of lamps and innovative chairs of wood and Plexiglas. He had learned furniture design from Fritz Hansen and worked for Grete Jalk and Arne Jacobsen.

Early in his career, Karpf experimented with adjustable chairs that could be ganged together to form multiple seating arrangements and stacked once the upholstery was removed. Into the 1980s and ’90s, he continued to ponder simple, flexible seating solutions incorporating ganging, stacking and folding as he developed his NXT, Oto and Tri plywood chairs. Karpf developed his first prototype for NXT in 1962, though the design was not patented until 1986. Over the years, Iform, Fritz Hansen and Dansk have manufactured Karpf’s designs.

Karpf collaborated with architect Fini Bolbroe on Spectaculume, a versatile consumer-assembled lamp for Dansk in which the kit-of-parts could be configured 119 different ways. While some early Karpf creations – such as the multi-spoked lounge chair and the string chair – were controversial, albeit valuable, experiments, other designs have endured. His candlesticks, monolithic molded plywood chairs and light fixtures have become Danish modern classics.

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