What makes a place eye-catching or recognizable? What role could this play in the case of urban spaces? How can we combine architecture with public art? These were the questions the team of Polish Traffic Design sought to answer while they worked on creating and installing various neon installations. The unique neon lights are transforming and illuminating the gray modernist buildings of Gdynia. Let’s see the details!
We have already presented Traffic Design’s human and city-centered philosophy and multidisciplinary team previously in relation to one of their projects reinventing the signboards of a marketplace in Gdynia. This time, in addition to the toolset of graphic design, they expanded their repertoire with the world of neon lights.
“If done well, such elements can create a sense of togetherness within the local community. That’s what happened with an animated fish neon we created a couple of years ago. The residents of the building loved it so much, they asked to extend its working hours. They started to identify with it and acquired a sense of pride from its very existence. In other places neons can increase the feeling of safety by bringing light to spaces and places that were previously darker. They can also increase foot traffic and the liveliness of public spaces,” the team of Traffic Design pointed out.
The neon installation located at Armii Krajowej 25 reached its final look in collaboration with Gdynia’s local government: the neon element is shaped like a spiral, accompanied by the AK25 sign, the abbreviation of the address. The spiral offers several possible interpretations: it could allude to the Fibonacci or the golden spiral, but it may even make us think of outer space.
Another neon installation is located between two library buildings, in a passage, where it is shining above a staircase. The geometric neon lights enclosed in a square-shaped frame were made in collaboration with Full Metal Jacket Studio for the Biennale for Design & Urban Art. The neon structure highlights the entrance of the residential zone of the district Wzgórze Świętego Maksymiliana: its light enhances the pedestrian’s sense of safety during evening hours.
The neon lights installed at public spaces cannot be only of informative purposes: they can also convey messages. As, due to the epidemic, the Independence Day March was cancelled in Gdynia, the organizers contacted the team of Traffic Design to come up with a method how they can convey a positive message that is accessible to everyone and is easy to recognize. Traffic Design chose a hospital building standing on a busy square of downtown Gdynia as a carrier, on which they installed the sign “Zdrowia przede wszystkim”, that is “Health first and foremost” with neon letters. In the course of manufacturing and installation, it was essential that the large sign fit the building well: to that end, Traffic Design designed unique fonts which complemented the shapes and rhythm of the hospital built in the seventies perfectly.