ROUGH CUT: NO REPORTER NARRATION Europe's new tallest building The Shard was bathed in light on Thursday (July 5) night as
lasers shot out over the surrounding area in central London. The display
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ROUGH CUT: NO REPORTER NARRATION Europe's new tallest building The Shard was bathed in light on Thursday (July 5) night as lasers shot out over the surrounding area in central London. The display marked the end of the building's inauguration which, with its tapering design resembling a splinter of glass, has become one of the UK capital's most recognisable landmarks. The tower, designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano, is owned jointly by state of Qatar and the Stellar Property Group. It was inaugurated by Qatar's Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr at-Thani and Britain's Prince Andrew, Duke of York. The 95-storey elongated glass pyramid, built next to London Bridge train station near the river Thames, will open with 26 floors of vacant office space. Developers will be filling it at a time when rents are at the flattest in at least 50 years. The tower has drawn criticism from those who see it as an example of wasteful spending at a time of economic uncertainty. The building has also been accused of dominating the area and ruining views over traditional landmarks such as the Tower of London and St. Paul's Cathedral. London's skyscrapers are modest compared with those of other financial centres in the Americas, Middle East and Asia. The Shard remains lower than New York's Empire State Building, completed more than 80 years ago, and falls well short of half the height of the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai. The interior is yet to be completed.