Anish Kapoor Tower Announced for London 2012 Olympic Park

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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!


  1. Claire Doble says:

    The squiggle!

  2. Ciaran says:

    Spaghetti Tower

  3. Carinya says:

    I like that but London already has a ‘squiggle’ – on Goldsmith’s College in New Cross!

    I’d go for The Trombone too or maybe The Horn.

  4. Christian says:

    This looks bloody horrible, like a kid has gone mad on a k nex set. Seriously their wasting £19m of tax payers money on this bloody horible looking thing god just another modern art waste of money, looks stupid people round the world will laugh at us lol im laughing already !

    • Zoe J. Griffiths says:

      Actually Christian, it’s not being funded by tax payers money, hence the name ArcelorMittal Orbit: ArcelorMittal will fund up to £16m of the £19.1m. The outstanding £3.1 million comes from the London Development Agency.

  5. Deby says:

    The Olympic Helter Skelter!

  6. Rik says:

    Whether this is being funded (even in part) by tax payers money or not (and I think its’ arguable who RDA money belongs too), whether we subjectively appreciate this sculpture or not is, in my opinion, irrelevant. I believe that the important thing is we don’t allow ourselves to wander down the doomsayers path as we did with The Dome. We need to embrace this piece of work as we need to embrace 2012 as a whole. Lets please not ‘Domedoom’ 2012 2 years before it even happens.

  7. inas soliman says:

    I’m Egyptian and I’m a London lover,I used to visit London twice a year and honestly I did not like this tower at all !!!don’t you agree with me that it’s better to build a truly English style tower !!!??? Victorian style for instance not such a complicated ugly modern art especilly in such a very special event like London Olympic Games 2012

  8. Disgruntled says:

    Terrible. Pointless, ugly, incomprehensible, futile exercise in ‘sexing up’ 2012. Lord Coe(!) said that Beijing was to be the last of the spectacular Games, and that ours would focus on the athletes and the integrity of the sportsmanship.

    This geegaw is a travesty. Why not put that 19 mill into funding for young sportsmen and women, why not make sure the facilities and environs are completed to the highest possible standard.. why bother at all with this nonsensical intestinal monstrosity that will serve no use or purpose after the first bomb threat on it.. it’ll become a rusting eye-sore that will cost millions to maintain at taxpayers cost.

  9. Tommo says:

    I really like it. Think its going to look pretty cool, overlookinng the Olympic Park. Can’t wait to see what kind of food there is going to be in that restaurant! Can you imagine trying to get a table there for a birthday or a special occasion? It’s going to be aces.

  10. Londonette says:

    Yeah! Well the Eiffel tower was only meant to be left up for a few years (months?) and look what happened. This thing has the potential to be beloved by many generations to come. And it’s a lot more permanent than just putting the money into one sportwoman or man!

  11. Robyn says:

    personally i love it as a britsih citizen myself. i am english and proud and it may look a bit tacky but it is in my country and there is nothing we can do about it now. it is a quite good attraction for tourists i think personally.