A Unique View. A Bigger Vision
Have I missed something? As I sat munching my breakfast cereal I noticed an ad on the back of the packet. When the London Eye was launched for the Millennium was it not sponsored by British Airways? Then why is it now the EDF(Electricité de France) Energy London Eye. Yet something else British, that we should be proud of, sold out to another European and, worse still, French Company in a three year sponsorship deal. That is taking the Entente Cordial one step too far! Have we really no Pride left? What next? Wind farm conferences in Buck House.
The EDF Energy and London Eye partnership offers a great view of London, and also a new vision. As London 2012 approaches the Capital will be at the centre of the world’s attention and EDF Energy is striving for the vision to be realised: of a city committed to cleaner, lower-carbon living.
Low carbon living? And what, pray, does the eye have to do with Low Carbon Living. It is in many ways a Folly. Built for the Millennium by one of the UK’s iconic industries. It has no purpose save that of entertainment, which it does very well. It was only originally designed as a short life project but has survived due to it’s popularity. In fact it has spawned many mini eyes throughout the country. Like the Dome it was never meant to last. One thing London can claim is the cathedral of consumerism. Where the poor are judged on how few i-phones they have rather than their ability to put food on the tables. Where Chelsea tractors compete with Prius cars on the school run. Both accomplished within short distances of residences where in the past shank’s pony would have been the preferable mode of transport. The Shard, The Gherkin, The Cheesegrater, The Walkie Talkie are not measures of Low Carbon Living but rampant consumerism. And of the Spin of today’s EDF Energy London Eye, not a word of it’s origins and any visitor today would well assume that this was a french erection rather than an Iconic British statement of who we used to be.
Well perhaps not quite lost in fact but only in perception:
In 2006 the Tussauds Group bought out the other two joint owners, British Airways and the Marks Barfield family (the lead architects). Following Merlin Entertainments’ purchase of the Tussauds Group in 2007, it now owns 100% of the Eye. British Airways continued its brand association, but from the beginning of 2008 the name ‘British Airways’ was dropped from the logo.
On 12 August 2009 the London Eye saw another rebrand, this time being called “The Merlin Entertainments London Eye” to show Merlin Entertainments’ ownership. A new logo was designed for the attraction—this time taking the form of an eye made out of London’s famous landmarks. This coincided with the launch of Merlin Entertainments 4D Experience preflight show underneath the ticket centre in County Hall. The refurbished ticket hall and 4D cinema experience were designed by architect Kay Elliott working with Merlin Studios project designer Craig Sciba. Merlin Studios later appointed Simex-Iwerks as the 4D theatre hardware specialists. The film was written and directed by 3D director Julian Napier and 3D produced by Phil Streather.
In January 2011, a lighting-up ceremony marked the start of a three-year deal between EDF Energy and Merlin Entertainment.
What a strange world we have created!