Luca Patkós’s CSŐ! project, the aim of which is to save and preserve neon signs in Budapest for posterity, has entered into a new life stage recently: owing to all the posters purchased, the first restored sign, FÜRDŐ (Bath) located under Kürt utca 4., is all finished up and shining again.
Luca was able to launch CSŐ! with neon sign restorer Mihály Hallgass, the owner of Decorlight, at the end of last year. Luca already picked out a few defunct neon ads in the city before the project debuted, and later on they assessed the technical parameters, and, of course, the estimated costs of restoration, with Mihály.
Luckily, the cool (and also phosphorescent!) posters are so popular that the first neon sign of CSŐ! could be restored recently from the funds generated with the poster sales: the FÜRDŐ sign located under Kürt utca 4, originally promoting the sanitary bath that once operated in the building.
“We worked on the restoration for approximately one-one and a half months. The process was this lengthy primarily because we had to coordinate different tasks and the work of different people. First we assessed the condition of the sign, we dissembled the faulty parts, Misi re-bent these in his workshop and filled them up with gas. Then we installed the repaired pieces, and cleaned the entire apparatus. The letters “D” and “Ü” were broken, the tilde and the letter “F” remained in one piece, but they didn’t shine, so these had to be replaced, too,”Luca told us.
The neon ad created in the 1970s displaying the FÜRDŐ sign was already renovated in the ‘90s (based on the foam rubber base of the letter and the type of the electrodes), and now it has been restored to its original glory after another 20-30 years.
“During the restoration, many bystanders asked us and reminisced about the neon ads. One night, when we were taking photos of the finished sign, an American film director living here was passing by and we started talking to him about the ad. So I think it catches the eyes of all the people walking by in the evening,” Luca added.
The next neon ad waiting to be restored is Látszerész (Optician) at Üllői út, but as a result of the current situation caused by the outbreak, this part of the project was temporarily shut down. You can still purchase the posters online (as we also recommended in our article „Support Hungarian design!” – the Ed.), and Luca is also designing new ones. Until then, go and check out the CSŐ! photos “inspired by the quarantine”: