Archive for March 2010

Anish Kapoor Tower Announced for London 2012 Olympic Park

I’ve just got back from an announcement at City Hall about an exciting new tower, called ArcelorMittal Orbit, commissioned for London’s Olympic Park.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson described the tower, which at a height of 118m will be Britain’s biggest piece of public art, as a “beauty”.

Although it’s currently called the Orbit, Boris also suggested London’s new red steel tower might be called a “giant treble clef, a mutant trombone, or a hubble bubble” – the latter in reference to its likeness to a shisha pipe, which wasn’t something I’d thought of…

Whatever Londoners decide to christen it (and I’m sure we will!), it’s certainly an exciting new structure. Anish Kapoor talked at length about his inspiration for the tower, acknowledging Gustave Eiffel’s 324m Paris landmark, as well as explaining how he hopes Londoners and visitors will make the journey around, and up and down the tower, with real a real sense of participation.

The £19.1m design incorporates the five Olympic rings, and has panoramic views of London from the top. As well as a walkway up the tower, there’ll be high-speed lifts taking 700 people per hour to the top. There’ll be a viewing platform up there, as well as a restaurant.

And when’s it going to ready? Well, the construction starts to “build itself” in clever sections in the next couple of months (with no scaffolding, Anish explained), and the tower will be ready for visitors in November 2011. The restaurant will come a bit later.

The Orbit will be on site for years to come, providing London with an exciting new visitor attraction in Stratford.

What do you think it should be called? The Stratford Scribble? Or The Scoubiedou? Let us know in the comments below!

Rainforest Life at ZSL London Zoo

Last night I had the opportunity to view the new Rainforest Life exhibit at ZSL London Zoo.   The enclosure is climate-controlled and contains a large central mock rainforest filled with various monkeys, birds, sloths (exceedingly popular with the crowd – possibly …

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Chessboxing in London

A couple of weeks ago I headed to Tufnell Park for my second experience of the hybrid sport of chessboxing. In a chessboxing fight two opponents play alternating rounds of chess and boxing and, although I’m the first to admit it sounds …

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