London is full of high-tech and futuristic architecture. We explore those London buildings that are stuffed with savvy technology both inside and outside.
Today at Insider London, we’re pigging out on the structural eye-candy that London’s modern architectural scene has to offer, from the Shard towering over the city, to the National Theatre’s light-fest illuminating the South Bank, to the late Zaha Hadid’s trademark curves living on through the London Aquatics Centre. But surely there’s more to London’s most high-tech buildings than just external looks? Here’s our insider guide to what futuristic and activities are going on inside London’s buildings. Sometimes it’s what’s on the inside that counts!
Thirsty Bear Pub
Ever queued so long for a drink that you decided it would be quicker to just pour it yourself? Well now you can at The Thirsty Bear, London’s first self-service pub. Previously The Stamford Arms, the Thirsty Bear was launched in January 2012 by The Robot Pub Group and is fully decked out. Table-top iPads for ordering, complete with a swanky swipe card? Check. Self-service beer and cider taps at your table? Check. Want to watch sports on the wall-mounted TV whilst pouring yourself a wall-mounted prosecco? Check! No, you’re not drunk; there is literally prosecco coming out of the walls. So if you’re tired of waiting, bickering over who’s got the next round, crying about the tab, or just getting up in general, crawl no further than The Thirsty Bear.
Gustav Metzger’s Liquid Crystal Environment, Tate Modern At Insider London, we’re passionate about the environment, especially when it allows you to curl up and have a nap, surrounded by psychedelic projections in an immersive, yet relaxing installation on the Tate Modern’s Level 4: Material Worlds. Nuremberg-born Gustav Metzger developed his first liquid crystal projections following his 1965 Cambridge University Lecture, ‘The Chemical Revolution of Art.’ In the following months, he worked with a physicist to formulate optimum combinations of liquid crystals, heat and light, in the name of art. To break it down, the heat-sensitive crystals are inserted into glass panels, which are inserted into projectors. They’re then rotated, heated and cooled, projecting patterns that change colour with the temperature. As well as featuring in legendary musicians’ concerts, such as Cream, The Move and The Who, Liquid Crystal Environment marks the shift in Metzger’s artistic practice from Auto-Destructive: exploring the automatic degradation of art made from manufactured substances, to Auto-Creative: using technology and art to focus on growth and positive change.
CitizenM Hotel, Bankside
Citizens! Bankside needs YOU…to relax in CitizenM’s compact, yet highly functional pods. One of the highest of the high-tech hotels London has to offer, each room comes equipped with a Samsung tablet, putting the mood in your hands, as you can adjust the temperature, lighting, television, blinds, music, ambiance, and wake up call time. If control in the bedroom isn’t enough, you also have mood lighting in the bathroom, complete with an overhead waterfall feature for the power-shower. With self check-in facilities, customised plug outlets for gadgets from across the pond, free phone calls to anywhere in the world, a lobby and bar boasting quirky, colour-popping, 24-hour workspaces, and an easy walk to London Bridge, the Tate Modern, Bankside and Southwark, CitizenM is for the hard-working, fun-loving, tech-savvy culture vulture.
Getting a table in London is tricky enough, let alone an interactive touch-responsive table that allows you to place your order, request the bill, and pass the waiting time playing games and watching videos. Each table has images projected onto its surface, allowing you to view pictures of your food before you order and even set the mood of the table. Yes, ordering bread for the table is so last year; you can now decide how happy it is. Oxford University mates Noel Hunwick and Danny Potter created Inamo after failing to get a waiter’s attention on a night out. Today, it provides the perfect Pan-Asian dinner experience for solo diners, battleship-loving couples, and groups who want a new way to interact with/ignore each other, as there’s no need to whip out your phone with so much to do on just one table-top.
Royal Observatory: Peter Harrison Planetarium and Astronomy Centre
Recreate those childhood school trips by checking out what exciting shows, exhibitions and events are on offer. The Planetarium has Sigourney Weaver narrating Asteroid: Mission Extreme, whilst The Sky Tonight sees a Royal Observatory Astronomer whisking you on a journey through the moon, planets and constellations of deep space. Ted the Teddy Bear takes you on a Space Safari and you have the chance to make new friends and Meet the Neighbours. If you’re a just a straightforward space-gazer, Solar System, Galaxy, Universe might just be your thing. For budding astronomers, the Astronomy centre offers a free interactive experience with three galleries: Astronomy Inspires, Astronomy Explores and Astronomy Questions.