Anish Kapoor has designed Britain’s largest piece of public sculpture, a 120 metre tall interwoven tower that people will be able to climb. The tower will boast spectacular views of London and the Olympic park. The work falls somewhere in between a crushed Buckminster Fuller Geodesic Dome, a fun fair Helter Skelter and the Eiffel Tower
The vast steel structure will dominate the 2012 Olympic park and is part of a strategic agenda to make the Olympics site a permanent visitor attraction.
Kapoor won the commission from a shortlist of bidders who included the artist Antony Gormley and the architects Caruso St John. Kapoor is no stranger to the international art scene. He won the prestigious Turner Prize in 1991 and his work has been well received worldwide. It is also worth mentioning that his autumn 2009 exhibition at the Royal Academy was a hit with both the public and the press making him a safe but deserving choice for the commission.
The structure will officially be called the ArcelorMittal Orbit, after steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, the richest man in Europe, who is funding it. London Mayor, Boris Johnson said that if he and Mittal had not bumped into each other in a Davos cloakroom “we would not be where we are today”.
Mittal said: “This project is an incredible opportunity to build something really spectacular for London, for the Olympic games, and something that will play a lasting role in the legacy of the games.”
The structure will cost about £19.1m. Johnson said: “Of course some people will say we are nuts – in the depths of a recession – to be building Britain’s biggest ever piece of public art”. But both Tessa Jowell the Olympics minister and Boris are certain that this is the right thing for the Stratford site It will be for the duration of the games and leave an important legacy beyond. Johnson unveiled designs for ‘Britain’s answer to the Eiffel tower’ on 31 March The project has been well received and will now be built.
Kapoor has collaborated on the project with his friend Cecil Balmond, one of the world’s leading structural engineers. Approximately 1,400 tonnes of steel will be used. Work will begin immediately, with a completion date forecast for December 2011. Kapoor has stated that one of his main references for the structure was the’ Tower of Babel’. Lets all pray that this modern structure has no other similarities or repercussions.