London SE1 website team

Petition calls for neon tower to be returned to Hayward Gallery

Designer Ron Arad has launched a campaign to have the famous flashing neon tower restored to the roof of the Hayward Gallery on the South Bank.

Petition calls for neon tower to be returned to Hayward Gallery

Ron Arad has launched the campaign as his contribution to the new Super Contemporary exhibition at the Design Museum which opened this week.

The Tel Aviv-born designer arrived in London in 1973 when the neon tower was a new addition to the South Bank. When the Design Museum asked him what London had given to him and what he would give back to the city, his immediate response was to request the return of the neon beacon.

Arad has made a short film about the neon tower which was designed by Philip Vaughan.

The film includes interviews with Vaughan and Design Museum director Deyan Sudjic. It also features clips from a 1972 edition of Blue Peter in which Peter Purves visits the South Bank.

The designer also delves into the Hayward Gallery archives to view the original drawings for the tower.

Arad's film ends with a call for for visitors to write to the Mayor of London Boris Johnson or sign an online petition calling for to reinstatement of the tower.

The petition reads: "The Hayward Gallery Neon Tower was a seminal piece of public art that was much loved in London. It has recently been taken down indefinitely, and awaits renovation.

"We the undersigned call on the London Mayor and the Southbank Centre to renovate the Neon Tower and put it back in its rightful place on top of the Hayward Gallery."

At the time of writing Arad is the only signatory to the petition.

The Super Contemporary exhibition also features a timeline of significant developments in fashion, architecture and design in London since the 1960s which includes a number of notable SE1 buildings ranging from Erno Goldfinger's Alexander Fleming House (now Metro Central Heights and mistakenly captioned as SE17) to the more predictable Tate Modern and London Eye.

A more serious error is the caption for the Bermondsey Square island site east of Tower Bridge Road which is written as if the competition-winning Urban Splash housing development (listed as SE16) was completed in 2005. In fact the site remains derelict to this day.

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