Sutnar’s Other Half: Knud Lonberg-Holm

Knud Lonberg-Holm’s name is little known today. If he is recalled at all, it was as Sancho Panza to Ladislav Sutnar’s Don Quixote – the windmill being their radical altering of information design. Lonberg-Holm hired Sutnar for the research department of Sweet’s Catalog Service where together they transformed how quotidian data was graphically presented to the mass.

But he was also an architect, photographer, designer, writer and teacher in his own right. He was associated with avant garde European design groups and worked with Gropius, Buckminster Fuller, El Lissitzky and more. Now he’s getting his due.

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Knud Lonberg-Holm, New York, 1950s.

Knud Lonberg-Holm: The Invisible Architect, is a debut exhibition devoted to this overlooked, yet highly influential, 20th Century modernist at the Ubu Gallery in New York. Here are rare photographs, architectural drawings, letters, graphic design, and ephemera from Lonberg-Holm’s diverse career.

The exhibition, which consists of selections from the extensive archive assembled by architectural historian Marc Dessauce, will solidify the importance of this emblematic figure in early 20th Century cultural and architectural history. Ubu Gallery, 416 East 59th Street. MAY 6–AUGUST 1, 2014

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Multi-Measure (MM) Metal Enclosures Catalog cover. Knud Lonberg-Holm with Ladislav Sutnar, ca. 1944.

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Knud Lonberg-Holm. Shelter Now; Magazine cover, Vol. 2, Bulletin 2, May 1932.

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Knud Lonberg-Holm. New York, Madison Square, 1923.

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Born in Denmark, Knud Lonberg-Holm (January 15, 1895–January 2, 1972), Lonberg-Holm’s interest in American industry is best viewed in his collection of photographs taken between 1924–1926. “These works document his pioneering views of industry and technology in burgeoning, jazz-age New York, Detroit, and Chicago; they would appear later, un-credited, in Erich Mendelsohn’s seminal 1926 publication Amerika, the first book on the ‘International Style’ in American architecture,” states the press release. A must see, if only for Lonberg-Holm’s 1939 info graphics (above).

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