Vol. 45: The Celebrated Neon Sign at Chicagofs OfHare Airport

Last fall I took part in a tour of small American provincial cities starting in Chicago. One of my reasons for doing so was to see for myself the celebrated neon sign at OfHare Airport. Although I have to say I was somewhat concerned about whether I would actually be able to find it, considering that OfHara Airport is one of the worldfs largest airports.

The sign was situated in the underground passageway linking the two concourses of the terminal used exclusively by United Airlines. I was lucky enough to be able to see the sign clearly on two occasions, upon my arrival and departure.

The neon tubes set on the ceiling of the long passageway trace fuzzy curves, but the design assumes the form of straight lines from halfway on, and the signs flash repeatedly in a flowing manner while undergoing changes of color. The organically conceived light performance is supplemented by the magical effect on the ceiling using mirrors and easy-on-the-ear music to create an effect as if one were passing through a flower garden of light in paradise. One runs no risk of getting bored with the long distances one invariably has to travel at airports.

As I put all my effort into taking photographs as I stood stationary on the moving walkway, people coming up from behind bumped into me one after another. I thought this was a bit odd considering that there was plenty of space to pass on the right side of the walkway, but then I suddenly realized what was going on. In Japan pedestrians have priority on the right side, but in the United States itfs the opposite, and people keep to the left as they walk. Traffic also passes on the other side of the road. I wonder what the reason for this is.

1998 Copyright (c) All Japan Neon-Sign Association