By Poul Henningsen

By Poul Henningsen

PH Design

Always liberating, always enlightening, he pretty well invented modern Danish living.

The PH Grand Piano

The piano as an instrument - By Poul Henningsen

Published in EPOKE, October 1931

Epoke has asked me to write a few words to accompany the picture of the new piano, which I designed. I would hate it if the experts were to regard this work as "functionalism". I had no intention of following any particular fashion - which is why the only straight lines in the piano are natural ones - I simply wanted to penetrate beyond the tasteful piece of furniture to the quite tasteless instrument, which is really a revelation of the beauty of technical features, tradition, ingenuity and craftsmanship.

Unlike so many people, I felt that the times have their own "style" in abundance. They offer some valuable things that the sensible worker can use, but most of it is fashion, the use of which one must learn to shun.

I did not change anything in the traditional piano that was already good. To begin with I did not even touch the gilding on the iron frame or the colours of the felt used for the strings. I have great respect for traditions that work well, such as those that prevail in the piano industry. I merely set myself the task of peeling everything away that originates with non-experts and bunglers, by which I mean architects and artist-craftsmen.

The instrument must bear the stamp of the piano maker's work, not that of some cabinetmaker who just happened to be passing. In reality, trying to turn a piano into a piece of furniture is every bit as hopeless a task as camouflaging a violin as a workbox.