The Shard, which opens in London Bridge on 1 February 2013, features a number of viewing platforms at the highest habitable levels of the building, and other visitor galleries on the ground floor.
These were designed by Event Communications which worked with the building’s master architect Renzo Piano.
The View from the Shard visitor experience offers the highest vantage point from any building in Western Europe and the only place where it is possible to see all of London at once, according to The View from the Shard. It comprises around 1672 m2 in total.
Event Communications was appointed to the project in spring this year following a five-way pitch, and was tasked with creating a concept that would position The View from the Shard ‘as a premium visitor attraction to local, national and international audiences’, according to the consultancy.
Kevin Murphy, Development Director at Event Communications, says, ‘The most difficult thing about the project was coming up with the concept. It’s got to be different and fit with the space.
‘The brief was just about the space and how many people there would be, so we created the journey concept to give a sense that it should be the first stop in London. It’s the best place to orient yourself from and to see London, so we wanted to create the idea of a journey from when the visitors enter until they go up into the crescendo.’
The concept for the public spaces is based around London aiming to create a ‘witty’ journey at the ground floor, preparing the visitor for the 360° views from the top floors of the building. The ground-floor galleries feature graphics depicting odd juxtapositions of famous people associated with London, such as Margaret Thatcher and Karl Marx on a tandem bike, and Richard Rogers and Sir Christopher Wren bobbing about in the Thames.
Video screens and display panels are used on the walls to show digital maps of London and film-footage of city life, aiming to prepare guests for the views from the top of the building.
Murphy says, ‘We took quite a witty approach with the ground-floor galleries – they’re characters that you may not have considered have a part in London. There are also quotes about London to the left as you enter.’
These quotes include Samuel Johnson’s famous quip that ‘when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.’
The viewing galleries on levels 68-72 feature 12 Tell:scopes – digital telescopes that are able to identity places of interest in the users’ sight line, and give information on 200 London landmarks, in ten different languages.
Event Communications created the sounds concepts for the spaces, which are heard throughout the galleries and during lift journeys. The London Symphony Orchestra and London choir the Joyful Company of Singers feature on a site-specific soundtrack, written and composed by film and television composer David Mitcham.
Event also created sound portals and sculptural sound-enhancing pieces at the highest level, the partially open-air floor 72, which will play recordings of London sounds.
The View from The Shard