After photographing the last neon lights of Warsaw and the country in 2005, Ilona Karwinska and her companion had the bright idea of collecting them and opening the Neon Museum. The goal? Saving these signs that adorned yesterday's Polish cities. ‘In post-war Warsaw, neon lights brought a symbolic rebirth to the city that literally came out of the darkness,' says Ilona who then speaks of a wave of ‘neonisation' at the end of the 1950s. ‘Neon lights were Potemkin facades. The shops were empty but the lights gave the illusion of the wealth of the West.' There was just one difference however, but it was a major one: the signs only portrayed common nouns (‘florist', ‘sewing machine', ‘library' and so on), as commercial advertising was banned! Based in the Soho Factory, a former ammunitions, scooter, and chocolate factory, the museum attracts fans who should also make sure they go to the excellent restaurant next door, Warszawa Wschodnia.
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