PUBLIC ART AT THE SHARD
Rising 800 ft above London, The Shard was once the tallest building in western Europe and is a magnificent place from which to survey over 1,000 years of London’s history.
Kristjana's exquisite 21st century tapestry, celebrating the city of London, can be found on the 32nd floor of this iconic building. Printed onto glass, and back lit, this giant piece of art, at 5.0m x 2.8m, immediately catches the eye. Tiny LEDs light up the vibrantly bustling streets and the azure Thames pulsating through the centre. Ornate flora and fauna provide pops of colour, offering a contrast to the more industrial side of London, where Kristjana has depicted buildings made out of tools and industrial iron particles. In Kristjana's own unique style, she tells the viewer London's story in an exciting way by creating elements that reference the city's history and culture. Take a closer look for elements of cockney slang and quirky original street names. In fact, the art work is so packed with fun elements and tiny details that you could easily lose yourself for ages just gazing at it.
Growing up in Iceland, where there are very few tall buildings, the impact the London skyline had on Kristjana was massive. She is truly inspired by the city, and working on London themed artwork is a great passion of hers.
EAST & WEST CIRCULAR LONDON ORIGINALS
On the opposing wall to The Knowledge piece, hang Kristjana's pair of 3D hand & laser cut paper Originals, coupled with a beautiful handbook narrating the elements created within it.
The unique framing of the East and West Circular London pieces is created in partnership between Kristjana's framer and a hand carver that routes the circular shaped frame.
'Penny for a coffee' - When the first coffee shops were established in London, everyone from the well educated aristocrat to the chimney sweep could gather to discuss and debate the happenings of the day. All you needed was a penny, the price for a cup of coffee. It was here that the coffee shop got its nickname, ‘Penny University’.
London Street Names - Many of the streets in London are named after what happened on that particular street, such as ‘Bread Lane’ and ‘Ironmonger Lane’. What is now the financial district, used to be the market district, full of traders selling their wares. One can wonder at what happened at ‘Pineapple Place’!
Silver dragons - Cast iron dragon statues mark the boundaries of the City of London, two of which are originals from 1849.
London’s smallest police station - This could be found on the south-east corner of Trafalgar Square, and was built to accommodate either a single police officer or two prisoners. Rather inconspicuous, it was fitted inside an ornamental lighting building.
Ha - Ha Road - The ‘ha ha’ in Ha-Ha Road comes from Londoners laughing at people falling into a nearby ditch! Dug in 1774, it still runs alongside this South East London street.
The Ravens at the Tower - Wild ravens used to be common in Britain and London, but were exterminated from much of their natural habitats. Seven ravens are kept inside the walls of The Tower and the legend goes that f the ravens leave, the kingdom will fall.
Royal Menagerie - For over 600 years there was a royal menagerie in the Tower of London. Animals that resided there include lions, an elephant and a polar bear which, kept on a lead, would hunt for fish in the Thames. Later came tigers, kangaroos and ostriches.
Queen's Diamond Garden - To mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, this garden was created next to the Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace.
Twining's Shop on The Strand - Thomas Twining bought Tom’s Coffee House on London’s Strand in 1706, and as tea became more and more fashionable, it soon became very popular. The original door to the shop is still kept the same.
Charlie Chaplin - This English comic actor and film-maker thought to have been born on East Street in South London, rose to fame in the silent film era. His career spanned more than 75 years, and he is considered one of the most important figures in the history of the film industry.
Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson - The famous fictional character in the Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Traffic Lights - London’s first traffic lights were set up on Parliament Square in 1868. Less than a year later, they blew up, seriously injuring the very policeman whose traffic duties they had been intended to replace.
Saville Row - “The golden mile of tailoring” - Known around the world for its hand crafted, traditional bespoke tailoring for men. Customers of the many traditional tailoring houses have reportedly included Lord Nelson, Napoleon III, Winston Churchill and Prince Charles. Henry Poole, credited as the creator of the tuxedo, had his premises set up here.
Crowned Horse - It is no secret that Queen Elizabeth II adores horses, and besides racing, she has owned and bred horses that have triumphed in eventing, showing, carriage driving and polo. It is also said that she names all of her own horses, and knows them all by name.
Pulled Flowers from Green Park - The story of the name ‘Green Park’ goes that Queen Catherine found out that her husband, King Charles II had picked flowers from the park and given them to another woman. Outraged, the Queen ordered that all flowers in the park should be pulled up and no more were to be planted. True or not, there are still no formal flowerbeds in Green Park.
The Iconic Black Cab - The well known actor and comedian Stephen Fry drives around London in a purpose-built taxicab, also known as a black cab or a hackney carriage.
Horseferry Road - This road takes its name from the ferry which existed on the site, an important crossing used to ferry horses and carts over the Thames. The earliest known reference to the ferry dates all the way back to 1513.
1807 - London got its first gas lit street.
Fortnum & Mason - William Fortnum worked as a footman in Buckingham Palace, at the royal household of Queen Anne. Here, the industrious Fortnum acquired half-used candles that, together with his landlord Hugh Mason, sold for a tidy profit in the very first Fortnum & Mason shop, located in St James’s Market.
Billingsgate Market - Currently United Kingdom’s largest inland fish market. In its original location in the 19th century, Billingsgate was the largest fish market in the world.
Columbia Road Flower Market - The run of Victorian shops we see here today were built during the 1860’s to service the population of the nearby Jesus Hospital Estate. What began as a Saturday trading market has, since the 1980’s, grown into one of international repute. Many of the traders are the second or third generation of their family to sell at the market. Today, a wide range of unusual shops complement it, turning the whole area into one of the most interesting shopping experiences to be had in London.
Viking Mouse - The Victoria Line was originally going to be called the Viking line.
Big Ben - Big Ben is actually the nickname of the bell itself and not the famous clock or clock tower, as many believe. The massive bell chimes in the key of E and weighs a hefty 13.5 tonnes.
Nelson's Column - Is a monument in Trafalgar Square in central London built to commemorate Admiral Horatio Nelson, who died at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.
St Paul’s Cathedral - For more than 1,400 years, a Cathedral dedicated to St Paul has stood at the highest point in the City. The present cathedral, by one of Britain’s most famous architects, Sir Christopher Wren, took 35 years to build. To reach the top of the cathedral you have to climb 500 steps. This is where Princess Diana and Prince Charles wed in 1981. Reportedly, they sneaked out the side entrance to avoid the crowds and journalists.
The Shard - Standing at almost 310 metres tall, The Shard is one of the tallest buildings in Western Europe, and a now iconic fixture on the London skyline. In 2014 The View from The Shard reported that one million people visited the attraction in its first year.
Tower Bridge - Opened in June 1894. The high-level open-air walkways between the two towers, 43 metres above the Thames, were once a haunt for prostitutes and pickpockets, and had to close in 1910. The problem seemed to solve itself when it reopened in 1982 with an admission fee. In 1952, the bridge began to open while a double-decker bus was still on it. The number 78, which was being driven by Albert Gunton, had to accelerate, and jumped a small, three-foot gap. He was awarded £10 for his bravery.