by Nancy Stiles
Joe Edwards is no stranger to neon signs. The flashing lights and noteworthy designs at Loop stalwarts such as Blueberry Hill, Pin-Up Bowl, the Pageant and the Moonrise Hotel are familiar to visitors and residents alike, but Edwards' latest, the Peacock Loop Diner (6261 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-721-5555), has bragging rights for now. The 1,800-pound animated peacock sign won Signs of the Times magazine's design competition last week.
The other [signs] are in motion also, but there's something very evocative about that bird," Edwards says about the sign's success. "I think it just triggers something positive. Everybody loves when they go to the Saint Louis zoo and they see a peacock walking around and all of a sudden its tail fans out -- wow."
The sign, which was designed by Edwards' daughter Hope Edwards and Kiku Obata & Co., was built by Piros Signs. It's eleven feet wide with more than 680 feet of neon tubing that allows the peacock's feathers to fan out in sequence over 200 times per hour. The sign was one of the first things that let the neighborhood know the new Washington University complex, which also houses United Provisions, was coming to fruition. It also advertises the only 24-hour restaurant in the Loop.
"I'm real proud of my daughter, who's a really good graphic designer -- not because she's my daughter, but because she's really good. People just don't make signs like that anymore," Edwards says. Well, except for him. "I love neon, and I'm so thrilled. I love the colors, I love the fact that it's animated, and the fact that it's in the Loop. It's a positive thing for St. Louis to be recognized at this point in time."
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