The cable car station and the restaurant were designed by the Bernese architect, Konrad Wolf. The Piz Gloria restaurant claims to be the world's first revolving restaurant, although others already existed, such as the Space Needle in Seattle, Washington, U.S.A., which opened during the 1962 World's Fair. Given the difficult topographic and climatic conditions, construction units were prefabricated. The outer skin of the glass circular upper floor is of aluminium-skinned wooden panels, that originally was an aluminium-coated tent roof. The rotative mechanism — a 12-metre-diameter (39 ft) core with a 3.0-metre (9.8 ft) annulus that completely rotates the upper floor in approximately an hour — allows every guest to have a view. In 1990, the restaurant was enlarged to accommodate some 400 diners, while retaining its original architectural character.
The name Piz Gloria originated in Ian Fleming's James Bond novel On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1963), in which it is the mountain-top hideout of the villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld and contains an allergy clinic. In the story the implied location is near St. Moritz, where Romansh is spoken and piz is a local term for a mountain peak. However, the restaurant is actually located in the Bernese Oberland, where Romansh is not spoken.
The movie production team found the restaurant partly constructed, and contributed financially to its completion in return for exclusive use for filming the movie (released in 1969), in which the building has a prominent role.
In the film, Bond's cover at the clinic is blown after he is caught seducing women, but he manages to escape the complex by skiing down the mountainsides despite the attempts of Blofeld and his men to kill him.
Afterwards, the restaurant retained the Piz Gloria name of the film location, and currently acknowledges the film's significant contribution to its commercial reputation; it features a James Bond exhibition, containing memorabilia and film clips, in the lower floor. In July 2015, a new and larger exhibition, called "007 Walk of Fame", was released in an event to which George Lazenby and members of the film crew attended.
The world's highest revolving restaurant is now the Metro Alpin restaurant at 3,500 m (11,500 ft) at the top of the Saas-Fee lift system. The Piz Gloria is at 2,970 m (9,740 ft). Switzerland has a newer, third revolving restaurant, the Kuklos, above Leysin in canton Vaud.
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