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Eye: The Story Behind the London Eye Hardcover – Illustrated, 24 Oct 2007
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Packed with detail, it combines fascinating drawings with sumptuous coffee table book illustations. --FX Magazine
Sweeping one of the world's most famous skylines at 135 metres in height, the London Eye is the largest observational wheel in the world, and provides a spectacular 30 minute 'flight' over the capital. But if it had not been for the vision, commitment and sheer persistence of David Marks and Julia Barfield, the husband and wife team of architects behind the project, the London Eye might never have been built. Against the backdrop of New Labour's pre-millennium Britain, prominent public figures attacked and defended the project, there were unprecedented design and construction problems to overcome, and Marks and Barfield had to fight every inch of the way to maintain the integrity of their vision. This seminal moment in British architecture is celebrated through the dazzling photography of Marcus Robinson, insightful writing by "The Guardian" journalist Steve Rose, and the clean and modern design of Neville Brody's Research Studios.
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Fortunately, the London Eye made it, and it seems is now here to stay. The Eye has always fascinated me - just the sheer scale and mechanics of the thing, and so when I saw this book I picked it up and started to flip through. The book is chocked full of photographs, very artistically taken, that help Rose narrate the story, and the book features interviews and insights from the architects who masterminded the project... all in all, for what it is, I thought the whole package was something quite special. At £25 it seemed like good value (I've payed upwards of £40 for illustrated hardbacks in the past) so I thought I'd make the investment. And sure enough it turned out to be well worth it.
I'm not sure if it's necessarily for everyone - it's very much focused on the architectural and engineering processes that led to the Eye's completion, but it looks stunning and anyone with an interest in the Eye or the London Southbank would certainly be captivated by it. In that respect I feel I can't really fault it.
In conclusion, a high-quality, comprehensive and attractive book, that is actually rather inspiring - and reminds us that the British really can get things right sometimes!
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
It's standard now to be a great fan of the Eye. But the book skillfully catalogs a different time: that of the beginnings when skepticism and, in some cases, outright hostility threatened to kill the idea in its infancy. It took a couple of well-placed supporters in the press (writer Mira Bar-Hillel and editor Stewart Steven of the Evening Standard) and business (CEO Bob Ayling of British Airways) to make the idea fly.
Still, there was a time when all the smart money and the bandwagon was lined up behind the lamentable Millennium Dome. The difference between the two: behind the Eye was, according to Bob Ayling, "a team that was committed to achieving something...and if something needed to be done we got it done. We took decisions very quickly and we put the financial structure in place to make it succeed. The Dome, on the other hand, was a political project that become a politicised project." In short, doomed for failure.
By the time of the Eye's assembling in the Thames and its hoisting - a technical feat of majesty and a signature event in itself - the world had top-sided. It was Wheel: triumphant. Its outline has become "shorthand for London." The Dome has met a much different history.
Beyond the story the book tells, it's a wonderful picture book. It mixes high-quality color and black & white plates with original sketches and reprints of significant London front pages capturing key events,