Art, Design

Lights Behind Curtains

Just in case you didn’t notice, it’s Lighting Week here on Red Nails. Field of bulbs? Check. A lunar lovestory? Check.  Should I probably start constructing an editorial calendar to guard against such eclipses? Double check.

To complete the trilogy, I thought you all ought to see excepts from Ilona Karwińksa’s new book, ‘Polish Cold War Neon’ that Retronaut published recently (abstract below). Quite apart from the artistry of the designs and typography, the juxtaposition of the humming, flickering, cheery neon signage versus traditional Western ideas of what life was like in Eastern Europe during the Cold War, is a powerful one.

Designed and built by prominent architects, graphic designers, and artists, and overseen by a chief graphic designer in the state-run company Reklama, Polish neon signage was renowned for its outstanding technical and artistic qualities. During its 1960s peak, Reklama maintained over 1,000 neon signs, whose playfulness and folly stood out in dark and oppressed Poland, ornamenting otherwise drab cities and towns. In Polish Cold War Neon, Ilona Karwińska collects her own stunning photographs, archival images, original neon designs, and interviews with their designers to reveal the untold story of Polish neon.

{Photos courtesy of Retronaut}


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