Warsaw’s neon resurgence has seen clusters of hotspots emerge – this issue, we spotlight a dazzling trio found bunched close together on lower Marszałkowska…
Hailing from the 70s, and with an older (uglier) brother on Pl. Bankowy, this neon flags the presence of a health and cosmetic clinic operating in Warsaw for nearly 100-years. Famed for providing fancy Swiss treatments, few beauty clinics enjoyed the same reputation as IZIS during the PRL period. With its rich, red colors and enormous size, few neons in town make such a visual impact. However, consider this: as glorious as the individually mounted letters may seem, the building’s façade was once even more impressive – back in the 60s, an illuminated Egyptian goddess also clung to the wall.
Returned to its rightful perch at the tail-end of 2020, the ‘newspaper boy’ originally made his debut in the 60s and was designed to promote the activities of the media distribution firm Ruch. Turned off in the 1980s, it was later dismantled altogether before returning in 2014. Immediately falling foul of vandals, it would take another six-years before it was given another crack at life. Now a much-loved feature of Marszałkowska, it’s a reminder of the times when the street was considered the de facto capital of Polish neon.
One of the city’s newer signs was conceived by artist Arek Vaz and was implemented as part of the city’s public ‘participatory budget’. Shown is the ‘General Plan for Great Warsaw’, an urban spatial plan that was developed in 1928 by a team of architects and engineers under the direction of Stanisław Różański. With Warsaw’s population projected to triple to up to three million residents by 1958, Różański’s team sought to counter the chaos of such a population explosion by establishing new districts and infrastructure that would readily absorb the rising numbers of people. This neon depicts that plan in stunning detail – casting a reddish-blue glow on the pavement below, it’s one of Warsaw’s most visually engaging neons.