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Four new posters for saving neon signs | CSŐ!

Sadly, only a very few of the beloved illuminating signs once shaping the cityscape remained in operable condition today. However, thanks to Luca Patkós’s project CSŐ!, the situations seems to improve: the first neon light—FÜRDŐ— that was renovated from the proceeds of the sold CSŐ! posters was completed in the spring of 2020. In the meantime, the second 4-piece poster collection has been released, by purchasing which you can help save additional neon signs.

The removal of neon ads is always followed by severe public outcry, but not many people actually do something to preserve them—this is what Luca Patkós set out to change. The neon ads flourishing in the seventies still make people’s hearts skip a beat today, and now, owing to CSŐ!, they can be brought home in the form of posters, while also saving an abandoned neon ad.

And this is more than an empty promise! Luckily, the cool, phosphorescent posters designed by Luca are so popular that the first restored neon ad of CSŐ! could be made from the funds generated with the poster sales in the spring of 2020: the FÜRDŐ (bath) sign located at Kürt utca 4, originally promoting the sanitary bath that once operated in the building, on which Luca and neon ad craftsman Mihály Hallgass worked for approximately one and a half months so that today it can shine in full splendor again.

Photo: Péter Brzo

Even though the epidemic also caused some disruption in the case of the CSŐ! project, it kept going slowly but steadily. After the signs Kedves (Kind), Csemege (Deli), Kézimunka (Handiwork) and Óvatosság Türelem Udvariasság(Carefulness Patience Politeness), Luca dreamt up ap four new neon ads as posters in December 2020: in CSŐ!’s latest collection figures and signs loved by all of us appear including the famous Owl of antique book stores, the Főz Süt Fűt (Cook Bake Heat), the Dohány (Tobacco) and the Kristály (Crystal).

“The Főz Süt Fűt used to be an ad for the Fővárosi Gázművek (Capital Gas Works), and was originally placed on a rooftop at Erzsébet tér. Due to the high costs it was removed in 2005 and even though the Neonon group wanted to save it, it ultimately vanished at a garbage dump,” Luca told us.
Kristály was a bistro on the corner of Rákóczi út and Alsó Erdősor utca, and it was accompanied by an espresso and a buffet sign, too. A lot of neon ads were installed in this part of Budapest at the time so that the tourists arriving at Keleti Railway Station could sense the »metropolitan» feeling right away,” she added.

“The same as in the case of the previous set, I have some favorites in this collection, too. I happen to have a miniature version of Főz at home, for example, but I found Kristály completely randomly on a photo. I also weighed in the audience’s opinion when creating the collection. I received several recommendations about the signs people wanted to see in the form of posters,” Luca explained.

According to the original plans, Látszerész (Optician) located on Üllői út would have been the next restored neon after FÜRDŐ, but the negotiations are still ongoing and it is not sure at all whether the agreement will be concluded. 

I am in a similar situation with several stores, and so I would like to take the opportunity and say that if someone reads this who has a neon sign waiting for restoration or knows someone who has a neon sign like that, feel free to reach out to me,” Luca added.

“I think I don’t have to introduce the Owl to anyone. It has been a symbol of antique book stores for a long time, luckily you can even see one on Múzeum körút in its original function,” Luca says.
“The Dohány was another typical neon in Budapest in the seventies. I found the original sign in László Zsótér’s photo collection and I like the typography ending in a cigarette very much. In my mind I could immediately see it on brown paper,” she added.

They plan additional restorations in 2021 once it will be possible again, and they’ll also continue the fall neon walk organized at the request of Mazsike. “Currently I don’t want to plan any further, because who knows what will happen due to the pandemic. At the moment I am happy that we can progress in small steps and we can restore a few neon ads in the future,” Luca added.

Photos: Kevin Campean

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