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Get your blue whale-o-meters out

Dear friend,

Here’s a teaser for you:

At what address in London can you find 650 blue whales, 11 football pitches, four and a half London buses, and six Olympic-sized swimming pools?

The answer of course is 51 Lime Street, otherwise known as the new Willis building, which was opened with great fanfare to the press this week.

Of course, we don’t mean it literally.

That would be silly, wouldn’t it?

I mean can you imagine hordes of pinstriped LMX brokers running in and out of Lloyd’s, precariously avoiding the flailing fins of legions of the world’s largest mammals, whilst being simultaneously tackled by jocks of all persuasions?

That would never do!

No, you must understand that we are reliably informed that the new Willis building weighs the equivalent of 650 blue whales, has foundations that are the length of four and a half London buses and contains enough concrete to fill six Olympic-sized swimming pools. (I can’t remember what the football fields are supposed to measure).

I’m glad we have got that straight.

These animals, automobiles, pitches and pools are the currency we journalists and the marketing fraternity that feeds us use when discover numbers and sizes of things that are deemed too big for ordinary people to be able imagine.

Hence we translate them into multiples of the everyday, like buses, swimming pools, football fields and…

Ah that staple of humdrum quotidian life — BLUE WHALES!!!

Oh well, don’t expect everything in life to make sense!

By the way, the Willis building is absolutely stunning and has everyone else in London green with envy.

It’s not that flashy to look at from the outside (say, compared to the Lloyd’s or Swiss Re buildings) but inside it is wonderful.

It has two amazing west-facing roof terraces – (perfect for sundowners) and has a gym, a great cafeteria and tons of space for the brokers to roam around. The views are stunning in all directions and the location is the epitome of perfection, right outside Lloyd’s.

So maybe they were justified in getting a little carried away?

And one more thing, did you know the Willis building has 3,771 windows?

Dear friend, I’m ashamed to admit that I did not count them all — so I will just have to take their word for it.

The building is designed to hold 2,700 people, so I make that 1.4 windows per employee.

Perhaps one could venture that this is a highly advantageous and desirable window to employee ratio and likely to be best in class when benchmarked against its peer group?

Or maybe too much light will wilt otherwise willing Willis workers?

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