Dazzling laser show marks unveiling of Shard

By MSN UK News Warren King/Rex Features
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Europe's tallest building is honoured with spectacular light display

The Shard has been officially unveiled in central London. Its tapered design and glass panelling have already made the skyscraper one of the capital's most noticeable landmarks. A laser display on Thursday night commemorated the building's inauguration by the prime minister and minister of foreign affairs of Qatar, Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr Al-Thani, and the Duke of York. Click through for more pictures.

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Lighting the London sky

The tower, designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, will contain offices, exclusive residences, a luxury hotel, restaurants and a viewing gallery across 72 floors which can be occupied.

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There are a further 15 levels which make up the "spire" - six of which have the potential to be used, with another nine exposed to the elements.

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The Shard, Tower Bridge and the Thames

The Shard is joint-owned by the state of Qatar and the Sellar Property Group, and it was funded by the Qatar National Bank.

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Bathed in lights

It was originally only nicknamed The Shard after the architect described the building as a "shard of glass" in the planning stages, but the name stuck.

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Crowds watch the laser display

The Duke of York said after pressing a black button to mark the unveiling: "I'm extremely pleased to see that this is going to give this quarter of London a huge new boost."

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Lights in the night sky