Friedman remembers the shop’s early work for New York’s Infinity Disco, the first dance club to feature neon as its primary light source, and Studio 54, where flashing, spinning neon panels descended from the ceiling as one of the space’s main lighting effects. Today, he maintains an increasingly diverse clientele: The day I visited, pieces for Chanel, WeWork, the High Line, Coach, and a cigar shop were in the works, while others in wood shipping crates were awaiting pick-up in front of the 3,500-square-foot space.
Friedman waxes poetic about the artists he’s worked with, indicating the close, collaborative effort required for each piece. The shop began working with Emin nearly two decades ago, and now manufactures all her neon pieces for projects in North America. A 2012 artist’s proof of Emin’s The Kiss Was Beautiful (2013) is on permanent display in the storefront. “Tracey is very much responsible for the new popularity of neon, and for allowing people to have a different point of view about neon,” Friedman says, citing a growing trend of clients asking for neon signs that hang indoors.