Starting on February 1, 2012, Londoners and tourists alike can experience the city from the best seat in the house. Standing an impressive 1, 016 feet above the ground, the futuristic, architectural wonder was designed by Master Architect Renzo Piano. When it opens early February it will take the crown as the tallest building in Western Europe, and according to The View from the Shard will be “the only place where it is possible to see all of London at once.” The View is comprised of floors 68, 69, and 72 and was designed to take visitors on “a journey” of the city. Not only is the views platform twice the height of any other found in London, The View is a comprehensive experience, combining breathtaking urban vistas with witty, social and historical gems.
The experience is not for the faint of heart, or for those fearing heights. To reach the upper levels, guests will ride in one of two, high speed kaleidoscopic lifts where doors will open to 360 degree, endless views. Level 72 is the highest public platform, where the scene shares residence with the clouds and visitors can peer through digital telescopes, identifying places of interest and learn facts on 200 London landmarks (in ten different languages). The ground floor galleries feature a quirky collection of photographs and quotes, creating odd and unexpected ties with people and the city of London such as Samuel L. Jackson’s line “ When a man is tired of London, he is tired of Life.”
However, some Londoners are not as excited about the new edition to their skyline. Many feel, with ticket prices for adults fetching a price of $34 and children $24, that the tower represents the smug oppression of the upper class. And while the glittering, glass silhouette may indeed cut a financial divide, the all-encompassing experience complete with soundtracks recorded by The London Symphony and composed by David Mitcham, there’s no denying that the sheer structural enormity of the creation makes quite an impression.