The laser display began at approximately 10 o'clock in the evening, when some 12 lasers and 30 search lights emanated from the Shard, drawing colorful lines across the clear London night sky and illuminating other London landmarks in time with a classical music soundtrack. At the end of the show, all lights, and all eyes, focused on the Shard itself.
The tower is born
The Shard was conceived at the turn of the millennium when Italian architect Renzo Piano, best known for co-creating Paris’s Pompidou Centre with Britain’s Richard Rogers, sketched an iceberg-like structure on the back of a restaurant menu. Piano's inspirations include the railway lines next to the site of the tower, the towering masts of sailing ships, and church steeples featured in historic engravings of the city.
In February 2009 the first signs of construction began appearing on the site, with full construction beginning in mid-March of the same year. Just over three years later, the Shard's 217 foot, 500 tonne spire was winched into place, topping out the tower's steel structure. The final 516 panes of glass were added soon after, bringing the Shard to its full height of 1,016 feet.
The future of the Shard
The Shard is an undeniably spectacular building that rises up over one thousand feet and is clad in 11,000 panes of glass. With over a million square feet of floor space spread over 72 levels, the Shard's designers plan to create a vertical city in the tower. The plan includes almost 30 floors of office space, three floors of restaurants, ten premium residential spaces offering 360 degree views of the city, a 200-bed 5-star hotel, and a five-floor public viewing gallery dubbed The View from the Shard.
The View from the Shard
The public viewing gallery occupies the 68th to the 72nd levels of the Shard, and is expected to draw over two million visitors annually once it opens on February 1, 2013. Sitting at a height of 804 feet, the open-air observation deck on the 72nd floor is the highest in the United Kingdom.
The Shard opening tickets are priced at £24.95 for adults and £18.95 for children. Booking tickets to the Shard viewing gallery can be done online or via phone, and to date, almost 20,000 have registered for advance tickets.
Register today to become one of the first few people to experience The View from the Shard.