The Gothic Shard and the Vampire Wounds of Capitalism

Like a giant canine tooth, here is Renzo Piano’s Shard London Bridge. Fanfare!

A canine tooth secretes toxin at its tip which it buries deeply into its adversaries. Charming symbolism, and for me, it just looks like a memorial to the casualties of capitalism. Not that I am one (a casualty). How could I be? I’m writing this, and blogging tools aren’t exactly available to everyone are they? But hey! that’s progress.

According to wiki, Piano was inspired by “the London spires depicted by the 18th-century Venetian painter Canaletto, and the masts of sailing ships” Really. It actually harks back to the spires of Victorian churches designed by E.W. Pugin, the nineteenth century neo-Gothic architect.

Pugin was also looking back to the medieval age because it was safe and easy, and that’s the problem. The Shard is just not modern enough.

So what did politician John Prescott see in 2002 when he gave it the go-ahead? There is, or course, a political agenda to the design. The website opens with the ubiquitous Thatcherite call to arms “Inspiring Change”. Oh yes. Change from what? Crazed deregulation of the banks and the financial sector?

The Shard is just another symbol of the same old same old, tacked out in glass and steel and labeled modern. It’s a failure of imagination, and like the tired old meaningless mantra that hangs over it and its future of To Let signs and developer phone numbers stuck in every window, it’s just about dishing out convenient thoughtlessness. Renzo Piano failed to express anything new.