What are people saying about the British Airways i360 in Brighton?
The world’s tallest moving observation tower, the British Airways i360, opened in Brighton on Thursday 4 August. Here’s an early snapshot of opinion.
Teresa Machan, writing in The Telegraph, says:
“At three times the height of Nelson’s column, many who look up at the i360 from the seafront promenade comment that it is too high to contemplate riding in. “I must admit I had the jitters,” said one rider, today. “But because the glass curves away you really don’t notice how high you are.”
Or that you’re moving. Our launch was so smooth that it is was only once the beach began dropping away that I realised the pod (an oblate ellipsoid to give it its technical name) was in motion and that our gentle, gradual ascent had begun. This was not a thrill ride – even in today’s inclement gusts. The tower’s cantilever design, we were told, is designed to withstand typical Brighton wind conditions.
First at our feet is Hove’s promenade with its grand, sea-facing Regency squares, the 1884 seafront bandstand and the rectangular expanse of Hove Lawns, where Victorian ladies would parade in bouffant skirts. Brighton’s rooftops trip cheek-by-jowl up the city’s gently sloping landscape towards the great iron canopy of the railway station.
The relatively low-rise domed turrets of Brighton Royal Pavilion are just about visible, and I was pleased to spot unmistakable red-pink façade of the Lion and Lobster pub – another popular Brighton institution.
At around 50 metres the rolling hinterland of the South Downs National Park begins to unfold. I could see as far as Worthing Pier to the west, and east, to Beachy Head. At 162 metres the chalky cliff is exactly the same height as the i360.
On a good day you can apparently see St Boniface Down on the Isle of Wight. “And there’s a white building in the distance that we think is Butlin’s Bognor Regis,” said someone from the i360 team. Binoculars may come in handy.”
Oliver Wainwright, writing in The Guardian, says:
“From the top – on a clear day – you can apparently see the tip of the Isle of Wight, 40 miles away. No such luck on my visit. On the hazy afternoon of my 20-minute “flight”, the sparkling white cliffs of the Seven Sisters were a dull grey smudge in the distance, while the rolling Sussex Downs dissolved into a blur. But even on a dull day, the city unfolds beneath you in surprising ways. Brighton’s steeply sloping topography becomes ever more apparent as you glide upwards, as does the pattern of buttery Regency terraces, framing squares that open on to the waterfront to capitalise on views of the sea. The merry hotchpotch of the seafront’s bandstands, paddling pools and beach volleyball courts then slowly flattens out into a train-set landscape, until the Palace Pier is reduced to nothing but a spindly finger of twinkling lights.
The experience is similar to a tethered hot-air balloon ride, the kind that used to entertain Victorian crowds at the nearby St Ann’s Well Gardens in Hove – except you’re trapped inside a glass capsule, cut off from the sounds and smells of the seaside. With the view partly distorted by ripples and reflections in the double-curved glazing (which might prove more of an issue at night, when the accompanying cocktail bar glows into action), it can make you wish for the simpler age of balloons and baskets, and for a gulp of fresh air. To opponents, it may still be the iSore, a Chernobyl chimney despoiling the beach. It could have been designed to feel less like a corporate entertainment lounge on a stick. But by night, when it glows like a sword plunging down from the heavens, it is hard to resist.”
See the full article at: www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2016/aug/02/brighton-i360-review-marks-barfield-british-airways
Kate Whiting, from the Press Association, writing for the BT website, says:
“Besides soaking up the views, it’s mesmerising to watch the honeycomb-patterned steel cans that form the world’s most slender tower slip through the centre of the pod.”
Martin Slater, National Sales Manager with Greatdays Travel Group, says:
I felt privileged to be invited to the pre-launch of the British Airways i360 on Tuesday 3 August. This is simply a combination of exceptional engineering technology and architectural design. Located on Brighton beach, where the once famous Victorian pier stood, it was then said you can experience walking on water. With the British Airways i360 you have the opportunity to experience walking on air! The pod will elevate up to 200 people to a height of 138 metres (453 feet), while simultaneously providing an observation platform giving passengers unimpeded views and the freedom to stroll around or sit whilst taking in the unfolding views. The attraction is ideal for the leisure, incentive or educational market.
For more information about the British Airways i360 in Brighton, go to www.britishairwaysi360.com