A brilliantly illuminating (ha!) private initiative by London-based photographer Ilona Karwińska and graphic designer David S. Hill to salvage Poland’s culturally significant neon signs of the 1960’s-70’s from the dustbin of history. During the post-Stalin years these neons were seen as symbols of economic success and the strive towards a more open and culturally relaxed society. The glowing signs, designed by some of Poland’s top architects and designers, advertised products, cinemas, dancehalls, restaurants and cocktail bars and also served as local landmarks. The post-communist years saw a scant disregard for anything connected to that era, many buildings were demolished and the beautiful neons were simply tossed into skips or left in states of disrepair to rot away. Luckily, Karwińska and Hill saw the significance of these artefacts and have managed to save over 200 neons and around 500 letterforms from certain destruction. The museum is also home to a huge archive of documentation, blueprints, photographs and original plans relating to the history of these signs. Housed in the super cool Soho Factory complex, the museum is certainly a one of a kind experience and well worth a visit for anyone interested in design history and Poland’s past. Remember to keep your eye out for some of the remaining old neons which are still ‘in-situ’ around Warsaw - for example the brilliant ‘Netball Player’ on Plac Konstytucji or the ‘Dancing’ sign on Nowy Świat.
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Facilities for disabled
Open 12:00-17:00. Sat 12:00-18:00, Sun 11:00-17:00.
Wednesday closed for December.