London is iconic for so many structural spectacles. Whether it’s the regal quality of Buckingham Palace, the concrete grey slabs of the sixties Tate Britain or the all-seeing London Eye, it’s just a great place for architecture, views and seamlessly weaving bits of new and old like a giant patchwork quilt of steel, concrete and bricks.
The Gherkin is one of London’s more recent iconic buildings protruding from the London skyline like a pixelated pickle amongst the white washed facades of Liverpool Street and tucked behind an ancient stone church. It also boasts one of the best views from East London and I was lucky enough to enjoy it.
The summer skies of London had turned chrome grey and thunder and lightning threatened in the heavy sky reflected in the diamonds of window of the Gherkin as we walked towards it for the HarperVoyager Party. It seemed fitting that stormy skies preceded over the celebrations of Harpercollin’s Scifi imprint’s party with famous authors such as George R R Martin attending and him penning the infamous phrase ‘Winter is coming.’
Summer was definitely on holiday today. We entered the Gherkin and were greeted by airport style security, including x-ray machines and beefy men in nondescript black suits wearing earpieces before taking a lift to first the 34th floor and then the very top, 40th floor. Ears popped, the air was definitely cooler and the conical top of the Gherkin circled into spirals above us at a dizzying height. Everything was mirrored and a thousand Londons surrounded us in panorama. The Thames threaded through and around each landmark like a silvery ribbon and rain trickled down the sides of the glass windows as champagne was being poured into other glasses.
Usually a private members club, it was pretty special to be able to enjoy such a view from the 40th floor, impossibly complicated canapés and listen to some publishing legends speak on the development of sci fi becoming mainstream.
Although impressive, and no doubt the perfect location for the event, I don’t know whether it was needing my passport, getting my bag x-rayed, the excessive glass and the lack of seating and tiny snacks, but it kind of did feel a little bit like a departure lounge of an airport…