Ice cream, prescriptions, modernism: Old pharmacy has avant garde side

August 3, 2010


(photo by Lee Bey)

 

The former R.V. Kunka pharmacy hasn't filled a prescription since February 2009; a nearby CVS takes care of that now. But look at what's been left behind: a totally modern and streamlined 1930s storefront--relatively rare in Chicago, especially in this good of a condition-- composed of metal panels, a unique color scheme and a typeface cool enough to grace the opening credits of an RKO Pictures movie. The storefront is the ground floor of an occupied, circa 1900 apartment building on a six-corner intersection at Archer, Loomis and Fuller in the 11th ward. Here's a photo I took of the facade about four years ago when the pharmacy was still in business. Dig the handle on the door to the left of the photo, and, of course, that great typeface:


(photo by Lee Bey)

 

The entry to the upstairs apartments:


(photo by Lee Bey)

 

The entrance to the pharmacy:


(photo by Lee Bey)

 

Now back to the typeface: Can you place what kind of font this is? It's not quite Bauhaus, not quite Futurist. Assuming R.V. Kunka was Polish, there was a progressive typeface and graphic arts movement in Poland in the 1920s and 1930s--was this a result? If anyone has more intelligence to share, please do comment below.


(photo by Lee Bey)