Either way, the Löffelfamilie neon sign depicts a family of four with a father, mother, son and daughter, sitting on a semicircular table with a plate in front of each of them. They are eating from these plates with a spoon, where the Löffelfamilie name comes from.
The outlines of the spoon family are marked by lines of a colourful neon tube that flip between on and off to create the illusion of motion. This is the simple way that the arms and spoons of the Löffelfamilie move. There are almost 200 meters of glass tubes in green, blue, red, and yellow for all of this to work. And everything looks gorgeous.
But how did the Löffelfamilie come to be?
A legend says that Josip Broz Tito, the leader of Yugoslavia, came to East Germany once and mentioned to Erich Honecker, the General Secretary of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany, how grey Leipzig looked like. With this in mind, he started a movement called Leipzig – City of Water and Light to change this image of the city.
In 1973, as a part of this campaign, the graphic designers Theo Hesselbarth and Jürgen Mau were commissioned to design a piece of neon advertising for the VEB Feinkost Leipzig. Supposedly, the visual reference they used was the Las Vegas cowboy that was popular at the time. Then, between 1975 and 1976, the Löffelfamilie was put into place.
The Löffelfamilie after the German reunification
After the reunification of Germany, a lot of companies from East Germany closed down. One of this companies was the VEB Feinkost Leipzig. The neon sign was left in its place, and due to the lack of maintenance, it began to deteriorate. In 1993, the neon sign was granted monument status and a citizen’s initiative was put into place to preserve the Löffelfamilie.
After a few years, in December of 1999, the organization founded by the people of Leipzig, managed to turn on the Löffelfamilie neon sign once again.
Nowadays, everyone can help support the spoon family sign with a donation by mobile phone. You can donate to the neon sign my SMS by sending a message with Löffelfamilie to the number 81190. It will cost you €3, and it will light the most famous neon sign in Leipzig for three minutes.
Löffelfamilie: The Spoon Family made of neon in Leipzig
Karl-Liebknecht-Straße 36, 04107 Leipzig
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