After almost two years that I’ve been living in London I finally had the chance to have a go on the Coca Cola London Eye, one of the most famous landmarks this city is associated with. It was conceived as a symbol to celebrate the new millennium, in fact it opened to the public in 2000.
Reading about the history of this observation wheel is really fascinating and makes me realise how easily we take things for granted without asking ourselves that every object has a story that is probably worth knowing.
I found this interview published on The Guardian quite exhaustive with a good insight from the architects, David Marks and Julia Barfield, who designed the Coca Cola London Eye. They are the architects and entrepreneurs who not only conceived the iconic wheel but also created the company to develop, build and operate it.
You may be interested in knowing that they also designed the newly opened i360 tower in Brighton.
Interesting knowing that since the very beginning the comparison between the Coca Cola London Eye and the Parisian Eiffel Tower has always been very strong. How to compete with such an iconic symbol? A wheel is another good means to make people being able to admire a city from above. And we are always looking for a good, high point of view. We all like that feeling of being above everything, as high as possible, to get that unique perspective upon the world below.
During the construction process the wheel was assembled lying horizontally on temporary platforms on the river Thames and raised up at a later time. It must have been such an interesting and so much different view from the current one.
The Coca Cola London Eye has 32 capsules, one for each borough of London but fun fact: they are numbered from 1 to 33 skipping the unlucky 13. Are Brits so superstitious!?
A ride on the Coca Cola London Eye takes 30 minutes so there’s plenty of time to look in every possible direction, multiple times, and at 135 meters high a fantastic bird’s eye view is there to be enjoyed.
The wheel never stops during its ride so you literally jump on board and the rotation is very slow which allows for plenty of great photo opportunities.
Visit the official website to know more: COCA COLA LONDON EYE
What Richard Rogers said about the London Eye:
The Eye has done for London what the Eiffel Tower did for Paris, which is to give it a symbol and to let people climb above the city and look back down on it. Not just specialists or rich people, but everybody. That’s the beauty of it: it is public and accessible, and it is in a great position at the heart of London.
from [Eye: The story behind the London Eye, Marks Barfield Architects]