Shardenfreude: London’s copycat craze is crystal clear

The Shard has spawned a host of angular glassy lumps across the capital. But is this new crystal city full of Shardettes a welcome change?

When Renzo Piano casually described his design for London Bridge Tower in a press conference as “a shard … a shard of crystal,” he must have had little idea what his poetic aside would unleash. Thrusting above the city as a crystalline spear, the Shard has spawned a host of mini-Shards and Shardettes, as architects and developers have rushed to emulate its sharp-edged glamour. London is now peppered with fractured cliffs of mirrored glass, twisting and folding in all directions. It is as if the splintered top of the Shard was the result of some momentous collision – its peak blasted into smithereens and showered down in faceted fragments across the capital.




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