neon signs have been an iconic feature of the urban landscape for over a century, adding a vibrant and colourful allure to city streets and storefronts. With their bright and bold designs, neon signs have captivated imaginations and become timeless symbols of modernity, artistic expression, and cultural identity.
Auckland, New Zealand, is no exception to the neon sign phenomenon. From vintage signs that immediately transport one back to the mid-20th century, to modern installations that push the boundaries of design and technology, Auckland is home to some of the most stylish and charming neon signs in the world.
In Auckland’s central business district, the iconic Civic Theatre is home to several vintage neon signs that capture the essence of 1920s cinema culture. The theatre’s art deco-style exterior, with its neon “Civic” sign, is an Auckland landmark that has been capturing attention for over 90 years. Inside the theatre, other vintage neon signs, such as the glowing contours of a bygone era’s fashion on the “Stallions” signage, continue to delight moviegoers.
While vintage neon signs are still beloved by many, Auckland’s contemporary art and design scene also embraces the medium with zest. Modern neon installations, such as the one at the Sky Tower, a beacon that dominates Auckland’s skyline, boast sleek and contemporary designs that showcase the infinite possibilities of neon and its applications. The Sky Tower’s sign, clad in a glowing blue font, is visible from great distances, during daylight or nighttime.
The trendy urban neighbourhood of Ponsonby, situated a few kilometres from Auckland’s central district, also features a variety of neon signs. From small cafes and restaurants to fashion outlets and bars, the area is awash in neon, with installations that boast innovative shapes, intricate designs, and eye-catching colours. One of the most prominent signs in the area is the “Golden Dawn” bar, with a vintage design that exudes a cool, retro vibe.
No matter which part of Auckland you visit, you’re bound to encounter at least one legible neon sign, often happily pushing the boundaries of artistic expression and design. They might even resurrect a feeling of nostalgia that sparks a sense of appreciation for this iconic form of art and design. As Auckland continues to grow as a leading global city, its neon signs will continue to add a charming glow to the streets and serve as a beacon of urbanism, innovation and culture.