The 18-month construction period on the highly contested ArcelorMittal Orbit at the London 2012 Olympic Park reached conclusion this week, celebrated by an event which saw the first members of the public take the 455 steps to the structure’s viewing platforms. From within the two 300 sq m inside viewing decks, visitors were able to gain panoramic views of the Olympic Park and London skyline for 20 miles in every direction.
Designed by acclaimed artist and sculptor Anish Kapoor and renowned structural engineer Cecil Balmond, the 114.5m-high sculpture was largely funded by global steel firm ArcelorMittal who stumped up £19.6m of the full £22.7m cost. The remaining £3.1m was funded by the Greater London Authority.
ArcelorMittal has largely sourced the 2,000 tonnes of steel used in construction from its Western Europe plants however token quantities of the material have been included from each continent where the firm has a plant. The company has also taken a level of sustainability into account, ensuring that 63% of the steel used was from recycled sources.
Situated between the Populous-designed Olympic Stadium and Zaha Hadid Architects’ Aquatics Centre, the ArcelorMittal Orbit is the tallest sculpture in the United Kingdom and reaches 22m taller than the Statue of Liberty. Its extravagant design has been a talking point for Londoners both within the AEC community and for the general public, splitting the critics into teams of either ‘love’ or ‘hate’.
When we first posted images of the twisted sculpture, we received comments such as:
If the Logo wasn't bad enough already! One wonders: how was this presented and who approved it? What alternatives were proposed and why were they rejected in favour of this? One can only hope that the public will not let Johnson, Kapoor and Mittal get away with this monument to over-inflated egos, excess of money and perverted aesthetic taste. It is a demented fairground ride, the Emperor's new clothes. (Keith, London)
Don't get me wrong, I love the architecture of the London Olympics and I love Anish Kapoor's work, but the (catchily-named) ArcelorMittal Orbit is ugly. Really ugly. I see no connection between Kapoor's recent work and this twisted metal 'thing'. (Paul Zara, Brighton)
This 'piece of art' is like a deformed waste paper basket, and will confirm to the world that we are all undoubtedly basket-cases. Why does it have to be so wretchedly UGLY? I think that spending money on Art in a recession is undoubtedly a good idea, because Art enriches life, and underlines the need to see far beyond the temporary economic problem, but this is not a Michaelangelo, this is like an Ikea waste paper bin that has been sat on. (Rosepoet, Brighton)
So have your opinions changed now that the ArcelorMittal Orbit has been completed?