With this hipster world’s affinity with bringing back en vogue quirky trends from decades past, neon art has recently become one of many items transported back from the 80s. Be it chic bars, stylish lofts, or shops, renditions of neon lights have become urban art-piece staples yet again.
Maybe it’s today’s penchant for most things retro, or perhaps it’s the appreciation for the handcrafted nature of neon glass tubes. Whatever it is, the world has once again found itself gravitating towards these radiant pieces emitting energetic and exciting vibes under the guise of hipster cool.
The word traces its roots from the Greek “neos,” which means “the new gas,” while William Ramsey and M.W. Travers is credited for discovering neon gas in 1898 in London.
In the early 1900s, French engineer, chemist, and inventor Georges Claude became the first man to apply the science of creating an electrical discharge to a sealed tube of neon glass. This would lead to Claude displaying the first neon lamp in public on December of 1910.
These days, the creation of custom neon lights usually begins with four to five straight lengths of either clear, phosphor or colored glass tubes, depending on design preference. These are then cut, spliced, and welded to create these contemporary neon art.
The results are these vibrant, inviting, and hip creations that are beyond performing their function of illumination, offering their setting a distinct character that is as endearing as it is inviting.
There are a lot of things from the 80s that the world thought we would (and should) never see again, but along with thick-framed glasses, leotards, and a few other things from 80s fashion infamy, this generation has found a way to reincarnate neon with a more stylish and vintage take.
They call it electro neon lighting—an intricate artistic medium that manages to mesh vintage glamor with the playful suggestion of the red light district type.
Presently, there are a number of museums all over the world catering to neon fans, most notably the Neon Museum in Las Vegas, the Museum of Neon Art in Los Angeles, as well as a tour of the best neon displays in Manhattan.
Have a gander at 30 creative neon light designs below, and be inspired by these delicately crafted works of art that light up the world one blown glass tube at a time.