London / 28.01.19
The building immediately hits you – it can’t not – with its industrial grey pipes neatly organised along and up its facades, or its stacks of concrete pods hovering on the sides of those curved stainless steel stair cores. It is as if the architects refused to dress their building and exposed the intimate functions of this factory.
The Lloyd’s Building looks like it was imported from Japan – perhaps a long lost cousin of the Nakagin Tower. Yet, standing here amongst its taller, glass covered neighbours at central London, it smashes the predominant model of preserved Georgian-houses-turned-department-stores back-dropped by stunning glass towers, and adds a new layer in between the old and new: dirty grunge. This vulgar aesthetic is inevitable: without the lifts, stair cores and mechanical components of this building designed to be at its perimeter, dramatic aesthetic would not have been possible.
The effects of this image of difference, however, are more slowly revealed. This inside-out machine flirts with the pedestrian, whizzing its suited banks-men and women up and down as they hang over the edge, until they disappear into the robot’s den. We leave London’s financial center with a metallic taste on our tongues, and with dreams of what could become of an almost organ-less inner body.