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Out of Orbit
Anish Kapoor's Orbit Tower in London
A little more than three months until the Olympic Games’ kick off, London is almost ready to welcome hundreds of tourists from all over the world. A striking object, a bit of a mix between a rollercoaster and the Eiffel Tower, stands among the many sports facilities in between the Olympic Stadium and the Zaha Hadid’s Aquatics Centre. We are talking about the Orbit, the colossal sculpture by Anish Kapoor, created with the support of the designer Cecil Balmond, commissioned by Lakshmi Mittal owner of ArcelorMittal, among the richest men in the world.
Anish Kapoor’s proposal was selected through an international design competition which was attended by some of the most important artists / designers in the world.
This strange object, which comes with a viewing platform, simply resembles a120 meters high tower rather than an artist’s work. It lacks - at least for now - the charm of a sculpture, hence we are saying that it’s more design than art.
Costing nearly 20 million pounds spent on the design and manufacture, the Orbit Tower is made of 1,400 tons of steel and is equipped with two elevators and a ramp. It can accommodate hundreds of visitors a day but perhaps, once the Olympics are over, not as many visitors will travel to this area of the city.
On a funny note, London’s Mayor Boris Johnson said that this project began in a cloakroom at the Economic Forum in Davos where he met the tycoon and decided, just like that, to waste a huge amount of money to make an object-symbol. He failed to realise that the much-vaunted "first sustainable Olympic and Paralympic Games" went down the drain because of all the pollution caused by this project and just forgetting how the billionaire’s company, ArcelorMittal, does not respect environmental constraints in many countries around the globe. Perhaps it would have been more useful to use this mountain of money for more socially useful and less boastful purposes.