Indian sculptor's tower finds place at London Olympic Park

Indian sculptor's tower finds place at London Olympic Park

Indian sculptor's tower finds place at London Olympic Park

Artist Anish Kapoor looks at a model of his design of the ArcelorMittal Orbit, during a press conference, in London on Wednesday. AP

The computer-generated model of the red tower which will be taller than world's famous architectural marvels such as London's Big Ben and New York's Statue of Liberty, was Wednesday chosen to be the artistic centrepiece of the Olympic Park here.

The 19.1-million-pound structure named as "ArcelorMittal Orbit" would require 1,400 tonnes of steel and the construction is expected to be completed in November 2011.
India's steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal will provide 16 million pounds for the project. The remaining amount will come from the Greater London Authority, The Guardian reported.
Designed by artist Anish Kapoor -- winner of the coveted Turner Prize -- and structural engineer Cecil Balmond, the tower is expected to dominate the east London landscape and become a tourist attraction for generations to come.

London Mayor Boris Johnson said some people would say that "we are nuts, we are barmy in the depths of a recession to be building Britain's biggest ever piece of public art". But, he said, the Olympic park had needed something extra to arouse "the curiosity and wonder" of Londoners and visitors.

The idea is that 700 people an hour will be able to use lifts to reach a viewing platform offering spectacular views over London. If they wish, they can then walk back to the ground on a looping stairway.

Kapoor and Balmond's Orbit, which will be placed between the aquatics centre and the main stadium, was chosen from a shortlist of three, beating tower-based bids by the artist Antony Gormley and the architects Caruso St John.

"Some may choose to think of it as a Colossus of Stratford, some eyes may detect a giant treble clef, a helter-skelter, a supersized mutant trombone. Some may even see the world's biggest ever representation of a shisha pipe and call it the Hubble Bubble, Johnson said.

"But I know it is the ArcelorMittal Orbit and it represents the dynamism of a city coming out of recession, the embodiment of the cross-fertilisation of cultures and styles that makes London the world capital of arts and culture."

It is yet to be decided whether people will be required to pay to go up the tower but there will be revenue-generating opportunities for the GLA and Mittal from a restaurant on the viewing platform.

Reacting over the decision, the Mumbai-born Kapoor said it is "the commission of a lifetime". He said he and Balmond were referencing the Tower of Babel and trying to convey a sense of instability and a tower that could be viewed differently from different parts of the city.

"It is an object that needs a journey, a journey around the object but also up and through the object. It needs real participation and engagement," Kapoor added.