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Designer David Marks apologises after Brighton's i360 breaks down three times in five days

David Marks, chair and designer of the recently-launched i360 vertical cable car in Brighton, UK, has apologised to its visitors after the observation pod broke down three times in the space of five days.

Dubbed a “vertical pier”, the 531ft (161m) tower opened its doors at the start of August – a project 11 years in the making.

A spokesperson told CLAD that the breakdowns happened when the tower’s automatic brakes are triggered. A load imbalance was blamed for the first problem on 8 September, with a private party stranded for around two hours, with fire and rescue services called to assist.

On 11 September, the tower suffered from further problems when a sensor came loose at ground level, putting the pod into safety mode and trapping passengers for an hour. Just two hours later a second technical fault left another group of visitors trapped inside the pod yet again.

“We have a highly qualified engineering team on site during all operating hours and we are confident that these same issues will not happen again,” said Marks in a statement, blaming “teething problems”.

“We would like to assure our customers that their safety and comfort is our number one priority and apologise again for any inconvenience caused,” he added.

During each ‘flight’, passengers board the pod – similar in style to that of the London Eye but on a significantly larger scale – and take a 20 minute journey for unobstructed views of Brighton and the surrounding areas, with views stretching for miles on a clear day. A single-storey visitor centre has been incorporated into the foot of the tower design, which includes a 400-seat restaurant, conference and exhibition space, a shop and children’s play facilities.

Speaking to CLAD last month, Julia Barfield, studio MD of Marks Barfield Architects, said that the i360 model could be replicated, as has been seen with the London Eye, which the practice also designed.

“We’re open to suggestion, put it that way,” she said. “This is certainly the first of these towers but it might not be the last. A future model likely would not be identical – I’m a true believer in making the projects fit their context. We would have to adapt it for its surroundings. This fits the West Pier nicely but you would have to consider particularly the base building and how it sits. Future iterations would be designed to be bespoke to their surroundings.”

Marks Barfield  David Marks  i360  Brighton  visitor attraction  London Eye  Brighton i360 
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David Marks, chair and designer of the recently-launched i360 vertical cable car in Brighton, UK, has apologised to its visitors after the observation pod broke down three times in the space of five days. Dubbed a “vertical pier”, the 531ft (161m) tower opened its doors at the start of August – a project 11 years in the making. A spokesperson told CLAD that the breakdowns happened when the tower’s automatic
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The new i360 tower broke down three times in the space of five days / Gareth Fuller/PA Wire/Press Association Images
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