In pictures: laser show marks inauguration of Europe's tallest building
July 6, 2012
Spectators turned out in the hundreds to witness the light show that marked the climax of the inauguration of Europe's tallest building, the 309.6-m (1016-ft) Shard in London. A dozen emerald-green laser beams emanated from the Shard to pick out iconic landmarks including the London Eye, St. Paul's Cathedral and Tower Bridge. The tower's 95 floors were lit up with color-changing lighting, and 30 search lights flared outwards and upwards from surrounding buildings.
"All Hail Sauron" said a placard held aloft by one of the many to take to London Bridge, in reference to the Dark Lord antagonist of The Lord of the Rings who resides in a towering fortress. As the Shard faded to red, the placard seemed particularly fitting, even without a gigantic flaming eye.
Not all onlookers were impressed, though, and many took to Facebook and Twitter to express their disappointment. From close to the Shard, Gizmag can attest to the difficulty picking out the lasers and searchlights, though bright green blobs could be seen on on distant buildings, particular the dome of St. Paul's Cathedral.
A better bet appears to have been to observe from a distance, if the images uploaded to photo-sharing website Flickr are anything to judge by, though distant observers were among those expressing dissatisfaction.
There has been some consternation, too, as to the pricing of tickets to the Shard's viewing platform, 245 m (804 ft) up on the Shard's 72nd floor. The £25 (US$38.67) tickets went on sale today, though the observation platform won't open to the public until February 2013. That a child ticket costs almost as much (£18.95 or $29.31) is proving a particularly sore point, and means the Shard's viewing platform is an expensive tourist attraction in comparison to London alternatives.