Katowice opens Neon Trail to showcase city’s history with light installations and present itself as a city of design
Boasting nearly 1,000 neon signs in the 1960’s and 70’s, Katowice is going back to its roots with a new neon trail aimed at highlighting the city’s history with light and promoting it as a modern metropolis transformed by art and design.
Once nicknamed Poland’s most illuminated city, since 2010 Katowice has seen the appearance of 100 new and reconstructed neon adverts, both commercial and artistic.
This recent resurgence has inspired city councillors to show that Katowice is creating beautiful things and showing how design, tradition and art have been drivers in the development of the post-industrial profile of the city.
The idea of the neon track is to take visitors, tourists and residents on a walk along a trail of no longer existing neons, those which are the most beautiful and recall memories about the changes and rapid pace of development of the city in the last few decades.
Altogether, the city has created seven light exhibition points featuring explanation boards about the history of each sign with attached reconstructed miniatures of the former full size neons.
Among the nostalgic neons are a reconstructed miniature of a Puss in Boots, which once advertised a shop selling children’s shoes, and the changing neons advertising the city’s first state department store, the PDT or a pretty neon of a teapot with a moving steam cloud advertising a former cooperative tea house called ‘Herbaciarnia Randia’.
The trail also includes a full-size reconstruction of a historic neon, advertising the ‘Bar Filipek’, a cult canteen using a neon of a man wearing a bowler hat who jumped rhythmically whilst taking off his hat.