Renzo Piano’s The Shard in London is giving guests more than they bargained for. Because of a design flaw in the glassy skyscraper, guests at the Shangri-La Hotel have been able to see the reflection of private spaces in neighboring rooms that should be hidden from view. When the lights are on at night in Europe’s tallest building, angled reflections from the windows provide a clear view of other guests – in their bedrooms.
The Shard has already caused controversy in its short life time, with many criticizing the grandiose design and its ownership by the state of Qatar. The 72-story mixed use development on the southern bank of the Thames River juts like a shard of glass out of the London skyline, ruining, according to some, the area’s historical character.
Completed in 2012, the Shangri-La Hotel itself has only 59 of its 202 guest rooms ready. Yet after its recent opening, the new guests were more than disgruntled to see that their rooms are not exactly private. Thanks to the angles of Piano’s glassy panes, the reflection reveals perfect views into other guests’ rooms at night. The Shard’s design features glass panes that jut out below the guest rooms, which serve as a mirror onto the rooms below.
The voyeuristic views aren’t very difficult to come by; many guests snapped images showing that a reflection of their neighbors was easily visible simply by looking out the window. Guests inside don’t realize they’re being seen in various states of undress, so the hotel’s manager is recommending that they pull the blinds until a more permanent solution can be implemented.
Image ©David Enrich