World Sign
Vol. 94: Orthodox Facade Sign
Orthodox Facade Sign
When visiting Ireland recently, I was surprised about two things.
The first thing was the large number and high level of skill of street musicians in this country. For instance, on a roadside at a tourist site I saw a woman singing while playing a traditional Irish harp. I was immediately attracted to the music and bought one of the CDs she was selling. After I came home, I gave myself plenty of time to enjoy the music and was impressed with the modulation and rhythm of the soulful singing. It was so wonderful, showing much more skill and artistic quality than what we would normally expect from music played for an audience on the street for pity coins.

The other was the sign. In Ireland, there were only few projecting signs of European elaborate designs; the majority of the Irish signs consists of written letters and channel letters arranged on transoms. I first got the impression that they looked slightly cheap, but I was proven wrong.

The transoms were connected with the hollow parts on both sides, pillars and wall surfaces to unite the entire facade to form signs. The tones of colors were also coordinated as a whole. I could see that it was quite costly to set up. In fact, I had never seen such praiseworthy signs in other countries. They truly conveyed the spirit of shop owners who took pride in the appearance of their stores.

In the early Showa period, a style named “signboard architecture” was seen in Jinbo-cho, the town of bookstores. I would go so far as to refer to the store signs in Ireland as genuine orthodox “facade signs.”

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