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Piet Hein

Piet Hein - architect, mathematician, poet, cartoonist - was born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1905. He spent some time as a student at the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm. Hein came back to Denmark and apparently he changed his course studying philosophy and theoretical physics at the University of Copenhagen, at the Technological University and at Niels Bohr Institute.

For Piet Hein there was no unbridgeable gap between the subjectivity of the fine arts and the objective world of science.
In 1944 Hein explained his working method in this way: "Art is solution to problems which cannot be formulated clearly before they have been solved". Other people have very aptly called his working method architectural poetic design.

By means of mathematics Hein found a harmonic geometrical figure which was first used on a large scale in connection with the solution to a town planning problem in Stockholm. In a rectangular square in Stockholm's centre two motorways were to meet in a gigantic roundabout. The solution was the application of the superellipse to both square and roundabout at the new Sergels Square. Afterwards the superellipse has been used in Canada, France, Japan, the US and Mexico in connection with the solution of different constructions as residential areas and sports centres, for example the Olympic Stadium in Mexico City.
Within furniture design the superellipse also became the solution for various problems - especially in relation to Piet Hein's design of tabletops the superellipse became popular.
Furthermore Piet Hein designed lighting, textiles, sets of cutlery and toys.

Piet Hein received numerous awards and prizes. In Denmark he has received the Aarestrup-medal (1969), the Industrial Design prize (1971), the Storm Petersen prize (1978), the Medal Ingenio et Arti (1985), the annual prize of Danish Design Council (1989) and the Tietgen Medal (1990), honorary memberships of the Students' Association (1970), the Royal Copenhagen Shooting Society (1978), Det Danske Broderskab (the Danish Guild) (1978).
Of international honours can be mentioned Alexander Graham Bell Silver Bell (1968), Die gute Industrieform (1971), Doctor of Human Letters at Yale University (1972), Huitième Salon Internationale du Lumiaire (1973) and Nobel Lecturer (1983).