One of the most iconic signs in Stockholm’s Stureplan (the Swedish equivalent of New York City’s Times Square) has been the giant green fire-breathing neon dragon that adorned the rooftop of the Draken (“Dragon” in Swedish) Cinema throughout the 20th century.
Designed by 20th century Swedish street artist Ragnar Person (1905-1993) and constructed by the famed Swedish neon designer Ruben Morne (1917-2007), the dragon was installed on the rooftop of the Draken cinema in 1931 and has been a mainstay of Stureplan ever since. The dragon, with its paw on the logo of Sweden’s national film industry,
For Stockholm’s moviegoers throughout the 20th century, the dragon was something of an icon. It welcomed them with its light green glow lighting up the premises in the evening hours and was the symbol of the theater. Sort of like the pagoda that adorns Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.
However, the future of the dragon was in doubt for a very long time. In 1996, Draken closed and the Draken building was abandoned for over 1 1/2 decades. The building’s dragon sign stayed lit, however, but gradually dimmed as the bulbs went out one at a time and noone showed any interest in restoring or finding a new home for it.
In 2010-2012, the former Draken building was renovated and turned into a department store. With the renovation of the building itself came a renovation of the dragon! In 2012, the sign received a complete restoration and it now adorns the top of the new department store
- https://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Draken-skylten (Entry at the Swedish Wikipedia about the Draken sign.)
- http://www.avblixten.info/e/esnas31sap751uzx.html (Webpage that includes info about Sweden’s neon signs, including the Draken sign.)
(Image credit: Holger.Ellgaard. Used via Wikimedia Commons per CC Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.)