Shop windows and neon signs, 1955-1957
Warsaw press of the 1950s was particularly sensitive to the issue of shop windows, which were found to be decrepit, unattractive and poorly lit. Magazines such as Architektura urged shop personnel to install canopies, awnings and window displays that would pull the customer straight from the street into the shop. Sumiński’s photographs offer a survey of window displays created using the simplest materials available: paper, cardboard, and the wares themselves. The press criticized also the perceived scarcity of neon signs that would give Warsaw a truly metropolitan appearance. ‘We long for colour in architecture ... We grumble about the sadness of our dull evenings. We demand colourful neon signs!’ Aleksander Kobzdej wrote in the first issue of Projekt. Among the items photographed by Sumiński were the neon signs of the PZU insurance company and the WKD commuter train, a restaurant signboard, and a jewellery shop window display.