Travel up the tallest sculpture in the world

Contemporary artist Anish Kapoor’s Olympic Tower has been unveiled in London’s Olympic Park recently.  The 22.7 million  (or $36.5 million) has been subject to warm praise and heavy criticism alike.  The meandering, amorphic structure makes innovative use of the ubiquitous material steel.  The steel was contributed largely in part by ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaker.  60% of the 2,000 tonnes of steel comes from recycled sources.  While most steel buildings cover their structure, Orbit proudly displays the triangular beams, making a statement on structure and aesthetics.

Kapoor has calmly addressed the criticism, saying that, “The Eiffel Tower was hated by everybody for 50 years…”  London mayor Boris Johnson has dubbed it “the Hubble Bubble” because of its resemblance to a shisha pipe.  Other descriptions have likened it to an “overgrown maypole”, a “turd on the plaza” and a “contorted mess of entrails.”

“It’s a series of discrete events tied together,” Kapoor says, which again is something approximating his idea of London. “We didn’t want an icon, we wanted a kind of moving narrative. You start under this great domed canopy that sits above you, almost ominous darkness, sucking you in. Then you come up slowly to light. At the top, there is a room with two very large concave mirrors, bringing the sky in, as if you are in the lens room of a telescope. There are moments, walking round, when it looks a jumbled mess, and then at certain points you might see little harmonies and clarity. That is the kind of thing we wanted, not something that gave itself away all at once.” - Kapoor, 2012

The Guardian, “Anish Kapoor’s Orbit Tower: the mother of all helter-skelter”

BBC, London, “Kapoor bemoans Orbit ticket price”

Bloomberg News, “Anish Kapoor defends ‘awkward’ London Tower”

Yahoo News, “Brit sculptor Anish Kapoor slams critics over Olympic sculpture”

Telegraph, “Anish Kapoor’s Orbit rises from the ground - timelapse”