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Bent Karlby (1912-1998), a Danish artist, architect and designer, attended the Technical School in Aarhus along with Vilhelm Lauritzen and Ernst Kühn. During WOII, Karlby was a member of the resistance, he helped to start the illegal newspaper ‘Danish Journal’ and was involved in a Danish-Swedish Refugee service which forced him to flee to Sweden in 1943. From 1944 onwards he ran his own studio in Stockholm and became a member of the ‘Architects’ Association’. He travelled to England, The Netherlands, Belgium and the United States. In 1946 he won the first prize in a competition in Chicago and joined the American Institute of Decoration, which increased the success of his designs in the USA.
Karlby was also active as an architect, but turned out to be far more significant as a refined and versatile designer, especially known for the beautiful wallpapers he created for factories like Dahls Tapetkunst. Several of his wallpapers can be found in the permanent collection of the Victoria & Albert museum. Despite their sleek shape, the colourful light fixtures Karlby made for the Danish manufacturer Lyfa demonstrate his delicate pictorial talent. His ‘P523’ pendant earned the company an iF Design Award in 1967. Karlby mastered the art of decoration like no other, and managed to successfully combine his love for painting and decorative elements with the leading modernist ideal of the time.