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The concept
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The conceptThe EDF Energy London Eye is one of the most spectacular and successful attractions in Europe, drawing visitors from all over the world. Its popularity with tourists and Londoners alike is unquestionable. It has broken many records but perhaps the most astounding fact in its short history is that it was ever built at all!

Designed by husband and wife team David Marks and Julia Barfield, the drawings for the London Eye were originally submitted for a competition, run by The Sunday Times newspaper and The Architecture Foundation, to find a suitable project to mark the dawning of the new millennium in the city. However, all of the submitted entries were rejected and the competition was eventually abandoned. Yet Marks Barfield Architects knew they had a project worth pursuing. Their plan - for what at the time would be the biggest observation wheel in the world - would celebrate Britain's technological innovation and provide a spectacular panorama of London. Like the Eiffel Tower in Paris, which was originally built as a temporary structure for the city's Great Exhibition in 1889, the London Eye would animate the skyline and provide a new perspective on the city.

"The ingredients of the wheel are simple - a universal desire to see the earth and cities from a great height and the natural human fascination with scale, daring Structure, and beauty." - Julia Barfield, Marks Barfield Architects

David and Julia decided to continue with the project and formed a company to develop the idea, backing it with their own money. London's Evening Standard picked up the story, helping to champion the cause.

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