The vision for British Airways i360 – the world’s tallest moving observation tower – is to follow in the spirit of the original West Pier, inviting visitors to ‘walk on air’ and gain a new perspective of the city, just as they ‘walked on water’ in the past and viewed the city from the sea.
Julia Barfield explains further:
“We want to lift people’s spirits and we cannot think of a better place to do this than Brighton. The views at 450 feet are stunning – across Regency Brighton & Hove, the South Downs National Park, the UNESCO Biosphere and, on the clearest days, all the way to Beachy Head and the Isle of Wight (49 miles away).”
David Marks described the inspiration for British Airways i360:
“People love to see a landscape from above. Anyone who’s ever visited the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building or the London Eye knows that a bird’s eye view of a famous city is a sight that never leaves you. Landmarks like these not only enhance the skyline – they celebrate the cities they belong to.
As soon as the London Eye opened in the millennium, people fell in love with it; visitors flocked to take a ‘flight’ and it quickly became the UK’s most visited paid-for visitor attraction; many years later the London Eye is still Britain’s most popular paid-for attraction with around 4 million visitors a year.
“Visitors to the London Eye remember it as an incredible experience. The London Eye has been a huge success, a success that many cities have tried to copy, but there just aren’t that many cities where it would be viable, and smaller wheels don’t provide anything like the same experience.
“This is where British Airways i360 comes in. The design creates a similar visitor experience to the London Eye, one with a view that slowly unfolds as you gradually rise to a great height. Using the experience we gained from creating the London Eye and some innovative engineering, passengers can walk around freely inside the moving viewing pod.
“The visitor experience is amazing. The glass viewing pod is 10 times the size of a London Eye capsule and can hold up to 200 people at one time – with a Sky Bar on board the pod – making it a fantastic experience for groups to enjoy the 360o views and a great space to hire for private flights.
“We have also incorporated a large beach building into the foot of the tower design with West Beach Bar & Kitchen, West Pier Tea Room, events spaces, an exhibition detailing how BAi360 was built and a shop selling gifts that are both beautiful and useful, making British Airways i360 much more than just a viewing tower.”