Meet London’s curvy tower


With residential towers popping up all over London, let’s take a look at one completed in 2019.

The building has been dubbed by some as ‘The Vase’ and by others as ‘The Boomerang’ due to its shape.

This sculptural tower stands in the centre of South Bank’s new public plaza.

So what’s London’s ‘Vase’ got to offer?

Owners said it would be a “shimmering new dimension to London’s skyline”. And, testament to the award-winning designers of SimpsonHaugh, it is very attractive as tower blocks go.

Inside the 50-storey building is 274 homes, all with floor-to-ceiling windows that look out across the capital.

There are two other building on the same site which house shops, restaurants, resident leisure facilities and a 161-bedroom hotel.

Speaking of the outside appearance of the luxury tower, SimpsonHaugh says “The tower’s distinctive form is emphasized by its double skin façade. The curved outer skin gives it a smooth and dynamic appearance, and is made up of 5,476 glass panels, most of which were bent into shape as they were installed. The inner façade’s coloured panels, varying from earthy colours at bottom levels to silvery shades at the top, help animate the building. Connecting the two façades are winter gardens, accessible enclosed balconies, which provide residents with extended living areas.”

Let’s talk about that advert

You may have heard of “One Blackfriars” back in 2015, when an advert for the development sparked controversy. Just hours after its release, viewers where up in arms across social media branding the video as sexist, elitist and almost pornographic.

The advert featured a wealthy-looking man and woman arriving at the tower after a helicopter ride. As the woman undresses to go swimming, the narrator suggestively says “delicate, elegant, perfectly formed” supposedly talking about the design of the luxury tower. He also describes the development’s “every sensuous curve” while the visual is the woman eating dinner.

One Twitter user joked “If we can get One Blackfriars known as ‘The Beer Belly’ I’m sure we can marginally damage the investors’ returns.”

Not surprisingly then, the video was swiftly removed by the uploader from Vimeo.

It’s not been straightforward

This London residential development has been 15 years in the making as the project started in 2004. Initially proposed to have 68 storeys, plans were scaled down due to objections. Also, in 2010, the development was actually placed into administration. It was then purchased later that year by Berkeley Group’s St George. In 2013 it was announced that the building was to begin after some minor revisions to plans.