As a heritage listed sign, the structure holds historical significance to the city as it was originally designed as a prominent symbol for Pelaco, a once market dominant shirt manufacturer who focused on mass production and labour relations. It also serves as a reminder of a common form of advertising used in Melbourne during the 1930s, through the large scale application of neon tubes.
In 2016, the Pelaco sign was in urgent need of restoration as inspections indicated that sign’s letters and structural frame had deteriorated with age and required replacement. COVA were engaged as principal consultant to project manage the restoration of the original sign, and conducted all initial inspections through to managing its removal.
COVA were also responsible for undertaking all design efforts, including repairs to the detailing on the sign’s letters and steel, as the large metal-trough box letters had rusted and were in a state of collapse.
Now located on a building which is home to radio stations as well as Madman Entertainment and Fremantle Media, the Pelaco sign survives as the largest and oldest neon sign in Melbourne. As such, it remains a symbol of economic importance and serves as a constant reminder of Richmond’s industrial past and its role in developing the clothing and textile industry in Victoria.