In Pictures: The Shard Laser Show

Andy Thornley
By Andy Thornley Last edited 70 months ago
In Pictures: The Shard Laser Show
Red lights up the Shard. Photo / Peter Stean
Red lights up the Shard. Photo / Peter Stean
The view from the riverside. Photo / nolionsinengland
The view from the riverside. Photo / nolionsinengland
The best sign of the night. Photo / mykreve
The best sign of the night. Photo / mykreve
The Shard reflected in the Thames
The Shard reflected in the Thames. Photo / Andy Thornley
A man takes a photo of the shard
You couldn't move for cameras along the Thames. Photo / Andy Thornley
The top of the Shard.
The peak of Western Europe's tallest building. Photo / Andy Thornley

Last night a laser show marked the completion of external building work on the Shard, western Europe’s tallest building. Green lasers were fired from various points of the building aimed at various London landmarks including the Gherkin (30 St Mary Axe), Tate Modern and Canary Wharf.

The light show – featuring 12 high-powered green lasers and 30 search lights – was arranged to music played by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, with the lighting arranged from a temporary structure on the opposite bank of the Thames.

Reaction to the show was mixed, with many on Twitter expressing disappointment that it didn't look much like the widely-seen CGI image released last week. Some were even taken to recreating their own Shard light show at home.

The building will be a mix of commercial, hotel, retail and residential with the costliest apartment priced at £50m. Although the first tenant has already moved into the building, it will not officially open to the general public until February 2013 when the viewing platform opens, tickets for which are on sale from today.

So, were you dazzled or dismayed by the laser show?

Thanks to Peter Stean, nolionsinengland and mykreve for their photographs.

Last Updated 06 July 2012

Phil Ryan

It was a bit flat as where we were on tower bridge there was no music. Managed to do a half decent timelapse from there though


Have you tried booking a ticket to the Observation Deck today? FAIL. Booking System is Unavailable
Have tried leaving a comment on The Shard's Facebook page which isn't complimentary? FAIL. They have deleted many posts this morning.
Did you have the temerity to want to watch the laser show from the South? FAIL. All to the North. Where their money masters are.
The Shard is busy turning friends into foes.


It was a total waste of time going to see this.  I can't believe they had the temerity to play 'Fanfare for the Common Man' as they opened it!  Are they taking the piss?

I wrote my full review here:

Small Gremlin-faced Dog

People were left crying into their goji berries up on Primrose Hill, where thousands had inexplicably gathered to watch an office-block being opened as if it was the transit of Venus and a total solar eclipse occurring at the same time. 

What looked liked a single laser flashed on and off in the direction of the BT Tower for twenty minutes. Some people with magnifying ironic specs felt the vague sense that something good/ luminous was happening towards the base of the Shard. For most the display was so crushing disappointing that they tweeted sadfaces and went home. 
Others secretly hoped for an explosion or plane crash, anything to capture on their iphones.  

Rah Rah Rasputin


50,000 people gathered on the slopes of
Primrose Hill to watch the most one-sided game of Building Quasar in the sports’
recent history.


Not since the Brandenburg gate lasered down the
defenceless Berlin Wall in 1989 has one building dominated others so


One onlooker proclaimed “I saw better at my
kids nativity!!!”, which spoke volumes not just of his disappointment at the non-event but also
of his gross misunderstanding of the story of birth of our lord. 

"After the wise men followed the star, they
found the baby Jesus.  And he evaporated
them with his laser vision.  “Now so wise
now, eh?”, he snorted."


People on Stave Hill started making their own fun after about 5 mins.  No one was impressed.


There was a bigger cheer when someone lit a sparkler on Primrose Hill. I think the mistake was releasing that CGI image which created such a huge expectation that it could never have lived up to the hype. Not sure why they didn't just do a firework display myself.