Around the world in 100 signs.


An ongoing project with new signs added daily.

I try to include some story or the history behind the sign but there is usually nothing documented.


So instead, I let my imagination run wild and make it up.

(But not always).


These photos were collected during 10-years of traveling the globe relentlessly for work.

Read more about that, here.


Follow the project on Instagram @under_rocks_sarah_feeney


🔝 most recent entry.

 

ZURICH


This sign is from the home of Dada: Cabaret Voltaire 1916, Zurich.


#Dada was a response to the carnage of the First World War, rejecting Old Europe’s ‘civilised’ values and traditions; its authority, violence, nationalism and #capitalist society.


Instead, Dada was in favour of left-wing politics, nonsense, satire, gobbledegook-poetry words, collage, funny outfits and rollocking good times at performances and happenings around the world.


It all started here.


A new #modernist philosophy, the #avant-garde, the underground, the #artist as theorist, DIY-culture, #anarchy in art and art in anarchy.


#Sign number 69 is now in the #AroundTheWorldin100Signs blog.


📍Cabaret Voltaire

Spiegelgasse 1, 8001 Zürich, Switzerland








 

EAST GERMANY


It's back to the #ColdWar era and #Germany during the East/West divide for this set of #signs and #signage.



(62)

Office block with canteen signage.

Demolished to make way for the rebuilding of the pre-WW2 Prussian palaces destroyed by allied bombing (and the GDR)

📍Potsdam, Germany





(63, 64, 65, 66)

Signs on 1960s buildings earmarked for demolition. Photographers, cosmetic shops and convenience stores on estates.

The city is so far east it's pretty much on the Polish border.

📍 Eisenhuttenstadt: “Ironworks City”


(67)

Not sure what this signage was for but it’s interesting as this was the year the wall came down and the East/West divide ceased to be:

1989.

📍 The Funkhaus #DDR state radio station. 1951. 📻📡

(Which, by the way, was the largest #radio station in #EastGermany, designed by #Bauhaus architect Franz Ehrlich.)


(68)

This bit of signage is a big deal as it explains the humble smudge of white paint above it: the line which marked the border between the west and the east and the point where the Soviets and the Americans would exchange prisoners.

📍 Glienicke Bridge/Bridge of spies, Potsdam


 

BAUHAUS


There’s not really much I need to say about this #sign.


I’ve been lucky enough to visit the Bauhaus twice. I had a Berlin boyfriend who loved the Bauhaus AND driving, hence my luck.

Otherwise, it’s a bit of a bitch to get to the Bauhaus, you really do have to complete the journey by car.

(After posting this on the 'gram someone let me know there is a train from Berlin that takes you right there and is—apparently—a delight.)


This photo is me proudly holding aloft the issue of @themodernist I guest-edited.


The second photo shows the original exterior signage and a newer sign that (I think) had been installed by my second visit.


(61)

Bauhaus

1925 — 1932

Designed by Walter Gropius

Typography by Herbert Bayer

📍Dessau, Germany






GERMANY


To the #ColdWar era and #Germany during the East/West divide for this set of #signs and #signage.


During this time the prosperous West enjoyed International investment that saw the major rebuilding of its infrastructure and housing post #WW2. (Berlin was a blank canvas after being mostly destroyed by allied bombing).


As the West enjoyed housing projects such as the #Interbau57 with participating architects #WalterGropius and #LeCorbusier amongst many other super-stars, the East had a more regulated state-dictated aesthetic that became synonymous with the #GDR.


No complaints here though, love a bit of the GDR aesthetic


(57) and (58)

Haus der Kulturen der Welt

(know colloquially as “the pregnant oyster”)

1957

Architect Hugh Stubbins.

📍Tiergarten, Berlin


Signage: “Parapolitik: Kulturelle Freiheit und Kalter Kreig” —advertising the exhibition within.



In the lobby area…

Exhibition sign: “Parapolitics: Cultural Freedom and the Cold War.”

An appropriate sign for this set of photos but also gorge #design and #font.



(60) and (62)

Two photos of signage on the side of the “Industrie-U. Bauglas” business premises for “Glaserei”.

Note delicious green #mosaic and glass brick window.

📍Berlin




(59)

“Die nachste Versteigerung findet statt am : “

📍 This sign is at the information desk around the back of #Templehoff airport.


Originally designed and opened in 1927 and reconstructed by architect Earnst Sagebiel under Nazi instruction in the 1930s.


I suspect this particular area was a later, post-WW2 addition as those tiles look distinctly #60s. This picture is all about the tiles tbh.




(60)

“Silver Wings”

📍You’ll find this one around the back of Templehoff #airport and I’m going to guess it was originally a members lounge in the 1960s but that’s possibly my imagination running away with me.




 

NEW YORK


To New York for #Signage from the TWA Terminal —now Hotel— by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen 1962.

📍 JFK airport, NYC


(51) The distinctive red “TWA” brand signage as seen on the wall of the mezzanine level



(52) ”Cocktails” and “Food” signage on the outside pavement



(53) ”Women” sign above the original 1960s pay-phones



(54) ”Check-in”, the main lobby area



(55) 2 pictures of the departure board, endlessly clicking away even though there are no flights taking off




(56) The newspaper and drinks kiosk (what font is this?)



Is the signage a gratuitous excuse to post these pictures again?

Probably.


▪️▪️▪️▪️▪️▪️▪️▪️▪️▪️▪️▪️▪️▪️▪️▪️


Personal note: So I spent a surreal and eerie 2-night stay here en route from #LA to #London slap-bang in the middle of the pandemic, end of May. It was a quick bolt for the UK in that small window between the restrictions being ‘relaxed’ (never felt less relaxed) and the shutters being slammed down again. It was a stressful and unpleasant journey and the worst one in the last 9-years romp around the world. 🌏 🗺


There was a silver lining though; I got to stay 3 nights in the utterly DESERTED TWA - my fave hotel - and I couldn’t figure out if I was in The Shining or a pleasant purgatory. It was as though the plane had come down and I was actually in my afterlife. A rather fitting one: an airport terminal. Going out exactly as I’d been living.

 

LONDON


(47) South Bank Centre

📍South Bank, London


One of my all-time fave #signs, signposting the way to some of my all-time fave #buildings along the #SouthBank, London🚏


▪️National Film Theatre

▪️Hayward Gallery

▪️Queen Elizabeth Hall

(in at number 1 for me)

▪️Royal Festival Hall

▪️Festival Pier

▪️National Theatre

▪️Jubilee Gardens




(48) National Theatre

📍South Bank, London

(49) Ticket Office kiosk, National Theatre

📍South Bank, London

(50) Queen Elizabeth Hall

📍South Bank, London


 

This next batch (9 photos) was taken during a random walking tour around London (I do a lot of that).


You can find a couple of these walks behind the highlight buttons on my @under_rocks_sarah_feeney Instagram account. There are definitely a few for London.


(38) New Cross Post Office sorting office

📍New Cross

Closed and scheduled to be demolished?

Judging by the style of the building I'm going to guess this is 1960s.



(39) This way to the nearest Post Office!

This one's fixed to a Royal Mail post box.

Someone help me out here, what's the date of this? The Royal Mail/Post Office font changed regularly and can be attributed to a particular decade.



(40) Building numbers on Southhampton Row

📍Bloomsbury

Got to be 1970s



(41) Hamilton House, also Southhampton Row

📍Bloomsbury

Note delicious 1960s tiles.



(42) D.R.M University of London Institute of Neurology Library.

📍Russell Square.

No idea what D.R.M means but this sign has an air of the cold war about it and in my vivid imagination it must be a fall-out bunker or something.



(43) President Hotel

📍50-60 Guildford st. WC1N

Built 1962 and an absolute delight.



(44) Snack Bar

Beppe's Cafe

📍23 W Smithfield EC1A

Its 1960s design and layout are still complete (as of 2021). This cafe was also featured in an episode of Sherlock (the Benedict Cumberbatch version).

The fork has seen better days.



(45) Jenny's Fish & Chips

📍Brighton.

Who doesn't love an original fish & chips sign?



(46) Hotel and India club

📍143 Strand WC2R

This one opened in the 1970s, originally set up by the India League as a symbol of post-independence friendship and its interior retains all of its independence-era aesthetic.





 

NEW JERSEY

(1) The Empress Hotel

Photo, above.


This hotel opened in 1961 and is featured on the single sleeve of Bruce Springsteen's "Hungry Heart."

Asbury Park, New Jersey is a funny little place with all these links to Debbie Harry, Bruce Springsteen, Patti Smith and The Ramones but it’s pretty much just a boardwalk and some boarded-up 60s concrete that hopefully – if it’s lucky – won’t get forgotten about during its current renovations.

Of course, the old Victoriana stuff gets looked after first —that and the Edwardian side-show stuff.

Whilst I was there I spoke to an acid-taking cyclist who told me how beautiful the ribbons were.

(There were no ribbons)


 

(2—5) PENANG, MALAYSIA

5 photos, below.


Penang is a terrific place – utterly unique and has a 1930s Opium-den-vibe to it.


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LONG BEACH & ORANGE, CALIFORNIA

5 photos, below.


(6) THE BEST IN TOWN


What the hell Louis III has got to do with a Burgers drive-thru (sic) is something none of us will probably ever know. Least of all Louis III as he died long before the Burger was invented. 


📍555 ATLANTIC AVENUE, LONG BEACH CA


 

(7) BELLFLOWER BAGELS


As featured in my Way to San Jose piece in the Summer issue of @modernistmag: JOURNEY.

An example of ‘programmatic architecture’ established in the early ‘50s which was signage designed to look like the thing it represented. E.g. if it’s a hot dog stand, it looks like a hot dog.

It’s a total hoot and the least earnest of architectural and design styles.


"There is the mandatory conversion of everything into a ‘drive-thru’ (sic) including a drive-thru Jesus blessing followed by coffee and a bagel”

Extract from Way to San Jose piece.


📍17025 BELLFLOWER BLVD, ORANGE CA 


 

(8) COCO’S BAKERY RESTAURANT x 3


Founded in CA in 1948 – the business expanded in 1960 and then formalised into a ‘proper’ brand in 1965 and, by the looks of it, never changed its branding again. GOOD. Let’s not overlook that smashing concrete bin.


📍28200 S WESTERN AVE, SAN PEDRO, CA


 

(9) CHAR-BROILED HAMBURGERS


What the f does Char-Broiled mean?

To us Brits that’s one of life’s greatest mysteries.


📍319, W CHAPMAN AVE, ORANGE, CA


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ALBURQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO

3 photos, below.


(10) MOLLY’S PACKAGE BAR & LOUNGE | 1975


As featured in my Way to San Jose piece in the latest issue of @modernistmag: JOURNEY


The original of this Honky Tonk bar was built in 1952 but it had to move back to make way for the new interstate-40 which was to replace Route 66. 


Although it didn’t officially exist anymore the original road was renamed ‘Historic Route 66’ which is where Molly’s Bar & Lounge now sits.


📍546 STATE HIGHWAY 333, TIJERAS, NM 87059, USA


 

(11) TRAIL RIDER PIZZA


A small trailer on Route 66 next to Molly’s Package Bar & Lounge.

The best smelling trailer in the Old West.


📍544 STATE HIGHWAY 333, TIJERAS, NM 87059, USA


 

(12) MONROE’S MEXICAN FOOD


1962 / 1975

The Monroe is Monroe Sorenson (not Marilyn).

The earlier location was Rio Grande & Mountain but was demolished for a hotel and relocated to Loma Blvd – did they take this sign with them or was it new at the time? Dunno.


📍1025 4TH ST NW, ALBURQUERQUE, NM 87102, USA

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LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA

4 photos, below.


(13) MARISCOS FAMILY RESTAURANT


"Familia and good food" is all it says about this place on its website – but what else do you need to know?

‘Nowt. I have no idea what the food is like though, I didn’t eat there. It was all about the sign for me.


📍412 W PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY, LONG BEACH, CA, USA 


 

(14) $1 CAR WASH


Boarded-up and unloved, this ex-car wash is bound to be gawn by the time I get back to Long Beach.

Hope someone nicks the signage before they bring in the bulldozers. I’d buy that for a dollar. (What film is that from?!)


📍PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY, LONG BEACH, CA, USA

 

(15) TRAVEL EAGLE INN


Those funny little lamps on top of the motel signs are common in Long Beach, CA. No idea why. Funny lamps like that are common everywhere – not just on Motel signs. So too are those ACE "Color TV by RCA" signs – how I want one.


📍PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY, LONG BEACH, CA, USA


"It was the kind of Motel you’d expect to find in a not-ending-well pulp fiction thriller about an American road trip circa. 1960"….

Extract from my piece The Great American Road: Hotel, Motel, Holiday Inn from Monopod magazine


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ALBUQUERQUE | NEW MEXICO

An OLD Route 66 / Breaking Bad sign special. 🌵 🌞


Route 66 was established in 1926 – nearly 100-years ago, bonkers.


The Ford Factory in Detroit had been churning out new-fangled Model T’s since 1908.

(The UK didn’t manage to squeeze out a Motorway till 1958.)

Businesses along Route 66 prospered but the highway was removed from the US Highway system in 1985 and completely replaced by a new bypass: the Interstate Highway System.

Although it didn’t officially exist anymore the original roads were instead renamed ‘Historic Route 66’ a bit of which runs through New Mexico – which is where I picked it up.

The once prosperous businesses aren’t strictly ghosting towns but they do have a bit of that vibe and are stuck in a kind of weird mid-80s preserved state.


(16) GARCIAS CAFE

2 photos, below.


📍1736 Central Ave SW, Albuquerque, NM 87104, United States

1974– also appeared in an episode of Breaking Bad. The sign was restored in 2015.⠀


"Time has lost meaning, the usual day-to-day punctuation is absent and habits loosely associated with day and night are abstract:  Breakfast is served all day; the beer is always cold, rooms are by the hour and conflicting signs often sit right next to each other."

Extract from Way to San Jose piece as featured in @themodernist magazine


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(17) MAISEL'S INDIAN TRADING POST

2 photos, below.


📍2004 S Plaza St NW, Albuquerque, NM 87104, United States

Founded 1923. Featured the artwork of Native American artisans. The building is in the Pueblo Revival style by architect John Gaw Meem.

The murals are original and they depict Native American life, painted by Oliver Rush and several Pueblo and Navajo artists.

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(18) OLD HIGHWAY 66

This sign marks the original Route 66, post-1985.

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(19) THE DOG HOUSE DRIVE-IN


📍1216 Central Ave NW, Albuquerque, NM 87102, United States

Appeared in an episode of Breaking Bad. Established 1940s – is the sign from then? Don’t know. Probably not.

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LONG BEACH | CALIFORNIA

Not so long ago I wrote a piece for @monopod about Motels, tbh I could bang on about them all day but here’s a couple of belters from the last month or so.

If I go full 80s Nikki Sixx it’ll be in some sleepy run-down American motel.

Fits the criteria, and my bank balance. (Which is nowhere near Mötley Crüe’s.)


(20—21) CITY CENTRE MOTEL

2 photos, below


📍255 Atlantic Ave, Long Beach, CA 90802, USA

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(22) DON’S TURF MOTEL


📍4732 Katella Ave, CA 90720

Opened in 1959, in Los Alamitos CA.


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(23) ANGEL MOTEL


📍2330 W Chapman Ave Orange CA 92868

The rather sad, faded glory of Angel Motel has definitely seen better days since it first opened in the 1930s. One of those places suddenly found itself on top of a roaring freeway exit as the road system evolved around it. In this case, the 57 freeway exit in Orange.


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CHICAGO | ILLINOIS

These two are both Chicago – the Alamo shoe store sign is 1971 and the Jesus Saves is 1940. The Church began as a small mission from the Philadelphia Church in Sweden – 1926 – for the Swedes passing through.

(24) JESUS SAVES