ArcelorMittal Orbit by Anish Kapoor & Cecil Balmond

Looping the London Skyline

A red rollercoaster-like structure now takes its place against the London skyline. Artist Anish Kapoor and structural engineer Cecil Balmond designed the 115m-high public art piece for the London 2012 Olympic Park.  

With an extensive team of engineers and sponsors to craft the folly – including steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal and Arup’s lighting team – brightly coloured spotlights and nearly 560m of red tubular steel were used to construct the sculpture.

Kapoor says his agenda was to create ‘a folly that aspires to go even above the clouds.’ A central elevator escorts the visitor to the top deck, from which point a 360-degree view of London is made visible. Descending in a spiral around the exterior, 455 steps lead the visitor to the ground plane.

‘I wanted the sensation of instability, something that was continually in movement,’ Kapoor says. ‘Traditionally a tower is pyramidal in structure, but we have done quite the opposite, we have a flowing, coiling form that changes as you walk around it. […] You need to journey round the object, and through it.’

Photos courtesy Gautier Deblonde/ArcelorMittal/Anish Kapoor.

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