Hong Kong’s Iconic Neon Signs: A New Era of Artistic Expression

Hong Kong’s streets were awash in neon lights for almost a century. As an innovative way for businesses and individuals to advertise their services, the signs that once ran from the tong laus higher levels (tenement buildings) were introduced in the 1920s.

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However, it wasn’t until the post-war era that the city started to shine with its iconic brilliance. Factory workers competed with workshops to sculpt, bend, blow, and shape the fragile, gas-filled, glass tubes into icons of a prosperous metropolis.

Major manufacturers are making it difficult for artisans to work with LEDs, which offer cheaper alternatives to neon. However, thanks to Wong Karwai to Ridley Scott’s films that immortalized Hong Kong’s unique cityscape, a new generation of artists, designers, and historians are doing their best to keep the neon lights glowing. Illuminate your business with our eye-catching led neon signs!

Karen Chan – an artist and designer, who exhibits as quiet to the mess. Also, she organizes exhibitions about Hong Kong tradition. In 2019 she curated a neon-led display My Lighting, My Hood at Kong Art Space. She collaborated with Master Wong, one of Hong Kong’s oldest neon artists. “It was important that I worked with one of Hong Kong’s oldest and most well-known masters to create the exhibition. Chan states that Chan is 70 and has been in the industry for over 60 years.

Chan sees neon as a “visual language” that is unique in Hong Kong. If you take an artistic approach, it can give new meaning to what was originally a commodity. She says that “we’re always speaking about art, culture, and how interrelated they are.” “Neon, an integral part of Hong Kong culture, is becoming more widely recognized as an art form. We recognize that it is part and parcel of our visual culture. It also helps us appreciate the skills of artisans and elevate them.

“Hong Kong can be described as a vibrant and dynamic city. We always strive to be better and to be more modern. Chan warns that the modernization of Hong Kong can mean losing or fading of some of its traditions. “That’s another reason the neon light show was important for me, as well as for the other artist, to allow us to explore how Hong Kong can allow its traditional crafts to evolve with times, and how artistic approaches can give them a new meaning.”

It seems that her conviction is growing stronger as more young, independent, locally-based businesses — from restaurants and bars to fashion companies — try to offer neon new homes away from the elements. They also want to place it in a prominent position, like paintings.

Chan said that neon is a vital part of our local culture. “I believe there’s a way we can preserve neon and raise it. This is why we need to encourage masters to work with artists and designers for it becomes an art form. Illuminate your business with our eye-catching led neon signs!