Decorated architect Renzo Piano, FAIA, can add another honorary title to his repertoire: designer of the tallest tower in Western Europe.  Known as “The Shard,” the London tower will be unveiled on July 5, just in time for this summer’s Olympic Games.


The design of the pointy tower, which reaches just over 1,000 feet in height, has been a point of contention  from the beginning. But in an interview with Dezeen editor-in-chief Marcus Fairs, Piano insists “that the building is not struggling to be powerful.”


He says: “I don’t think arrogance will be a character of this building. I think its presence will be quite subtle. Sharp but subtle. This doesn’t mean you have to lose presence and intensity. I think the building will be intense – it’s not timid.”


Emphasizing that the building is a mixed-use facility, Piano says that the building is not a power symbol, but rather a place for everyone to take in the expansive London skyline. He wasn’t trying to break any records, he says, he just wanted people to go up and breathe the fresh air.


Read Fairs' full interview transcript on the Dezeen website.