In the first half of 2020, at a project reconstruction site on Jiangxi middle road in Shanghai, engineers accidentally found an “antique” – an English signboard “China realty Co. LD” (Chinese business company) when removing the external wall appendages. This signboard with white background and black characters is simple and bright, and perfectly combined with the building. After careful check, this is the English signboard of a real estate company in old Shanghai, which has been kept since the building was completed in 1922. Over the past 90 years, business organizations of different categories have changed here. After nearly a century of changes, the original brand has come to light again. Seeing the original objects that can only be seen in the photos with one’s own eyes reminds countless people of the city’s past stories.
Like a business card showing identity, the signboard is also the face of the shop, recording the name, identity, history and appearance. They are either suspended in front of the street, or placed in the important area of the front door to emphasize, hoping to win the favor of customers at the first time. In addition, the signs can reflect the local cultural characteristics, or static or dynamic, or large or small signs and buildings together to form a colorful street view.
I like to walk in the traditional streets of Europe, immerse myself in the humanistic atmosphere, and enjoy the various signboards on the streets. They are small and exquisite, simple and intuitive, with obvious regional characteristics, both fashionable and full of historical charm. Among them, the most attractive ones are those iron signboards with a long history. They have been kept in good condition for many years, and they are unique in European Street shop signboards.
Europe is the birthplace of iron signs. Most of these signboards are well-made, rich in content, and complement each other in words and pictures. They have become a cultural landscape full of artistic charm on the street. With the development of European iron art, iron signboard has experienced from following the ancient Roman style to reflecting the solemn and elegant, to the gorgeous and gorgeous Gothic court art as the mainstream, and then to the Renaissance period, the art decoration related to the theme of humanized life, and the content of signboard constantly changed and developed. From the 17th and 18th centuries, iron art gradually pursued the beauty of line change and flow, adding a large number of plant patterns according to the natural style. At the same time, iron art signboards began to emphasize the gorgeous decorative modeling.