The Great Warsaw and other circles

A new neon sign will soon appear in the centre of Warsaw. Its form is going to be based on circles, which – on the one hand – refers to the history of the city and art, and – on the other – opens the way to search for other similar neon shapes …

The art installation by Arek Vaz is to hang on the facade of the building at 77/79 Marszałkowska Street. It was inspired by a diagram showing the development and division of districts from the “General Plan for Greater Warsaw”, developed in the 1920s by a team of architects, town planners and technicians.

The author of the neon design was captivated by the form of the old graphics, based on the symbol of a circle. Vaz has been fascinated with the wheel in graphics for years. He even devoted his bachelor thesis to it.

No wonder that his favourite neon is the volleyball player from pl. Konstytucji. Designed in the 1960s by Jan Mucharski, it returned thanks to the efforts of Paulina Ołowska and the Foksal Gallery team, starting in 2006 the new neon fashion.


What does a volleyball player have to do with the circle in question? It is a slim woman throwing a ball from the roof of a six-story tenement house. The falling object appears in the eyes of passers-by in 16 scenes, wandering lower and lower, creating an impression of movement.

The characteristic pink bubbles in the giant glass of Maurycy Gomulicki are also moving. They appear in several sequences, changing not only places but also shapes.

Perhaps it is this sequencing of the neon lights with the characteristic circle symbol that makes them so eye-catching?

The volleyball player is not only the favourite neon sign of the author of Greater Warsaw. The neon sign was a starting point for other stories about old neon signs in Warsaw that include sport features, that happened during the workshops by The Obserwatorium Foundation and Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw. And though there where lots of sportsmen to get inspired by and lots of their attributes to choose, the majority of the participants picked the volleyball player and her rings ?

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