The tower, which is the tallest in western Europe, is getting controversial reviews. Guardian columnist Simon Jenkins writes that the tower "has slashed the face of London for ever" while Aditya Chakrabortty recently wrote in the same newspaper: "It's expensive. It's off-limits. It's largely owned by people who don't live here. And it is the perfect metaphor for what our capital is becoming."
Dezeen editor-in-chief Marcus Fairs conducted an interview with Piano before work started on the skyscraper and you can read the transcript here.
Here are some extra details from inauguration organisers:
The Shard Inauguration
On 5 July London’s latest landmark will be officially opened by the Prime Minister of Qatar, His Excellency Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassem Bin Jabor Al Thani, and Prince Andrew, the Duke of York. The state of Qatar is the majority investor in The Shard, the centrepiece of the London Bridge Quarter, an essential development in the regeneration of London’s south bank.
The Shard is the tallest building in Western Europe at 310m (1,016 ft) and, in 2013, the building will house the capital's highest public viewing gallery offering 360° views of London.
Inauguration Ceremony – 5 July 2012, 3pm
At 3pm, The Shard will be officially opened by the Prime Minister of Qatar, His Excellency Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassem Bin Jabor Al Thani, and Prince Andrew, the Duke of York.
Laser Show – 5 July 2012, 10.10pm
At 10.10pm, a Laser Show lasting five minutes will be projected onto The Shard.