Anish Kapoor's Olympic Orbit tower unveiled

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

 

The UK's tallest sculpture was officially unveiled today at Stratford's Olympic Park.

The twisting red tower standing at 376ft (114.5m) next to the Olympic Stadium is "awkward" and "beautiful," its designer Anish Kapoor said.

The Turner Prize-winning artist, who created the ArcelorMittal Orbit with structural designer Cecil Balmond, also said the £15 entrance price for adults and £7 for children during the Games should come down after 2012.

He wants a "more democratic" price, saying those figures are "a hell of a lot of money".

Andrew Altman, chief executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation, which is in charge of securing the future of the Olympic Park, said a lower post-Games pricing system is being figured out.

Mr Kapoor said that he thinks it is beautiful but added: "I think it is awkward. It has its elbows sticking out. In a way it refuses any singular capture.

"It refuses to be an emblem.

"It is unsettling and I think that is part of this thing of beauty."

Visitors will be able to look down to the showpiece stadium from the latest landmark to London's skyline.

The twisting tangle of steel, which looks as if it is going to fall over, is not only the tallest sculpture in the UK but also 72ft (22m) taller than the Statue of Liberty.

The cutting-edge tower, dubbed "the Hubble Bubble" by London mayor Boris Johnson because of its resemblance to a shisha pipe, is intended to help make the Olympic Park in Stratford, east London, a must-see attraction long after the 2012 Games have ended.

It has two observation floors, a 455-step spiral staircase, lift and restaurant.

The idea is to go up in the lift and walk down the staircase and take in the views and artistic tricks designed in by Mr Kapoor.

He accepts that it may be controversial and not to everyone's liking.

He said: "I think controversy is OK - it is part of the deal really.

"We have tried to open territory for ourselves and hopefully in so doing a whole question about what this type of tower form can be.

"I am sure there are other possibilities but this is the one that we thought was right."

The tower could have been nearer 200m tall under the original plans by the creative duo, but "very harsh budget realities" and the practicalities of a projected million people a year moving through it resulted in changes, according to Mr Kapoor.

It was 180m in the first sketch and 140m by the time of the early presentations, Mr Balmond recalled.

The tower uses 19th century physical technology but could have been built without modern-day understanding of the forces and construction involved.

Mr Kapoor noted: "Cecil is also a very clever man. The four people who pieced it together could do so because Cecil designed the structure in such a way that one (piece of) steel and the next piece come down in the right position and because of it you need no scaffolding."

People who have tickets to sports events at the Olympic Park or who have bought a ticket to get into the grounds during the Games could also visit the tower.

It is set to open after the Games as a visitor attraction, with ticketed viewing from the observation decks, and as a venue for private functions from around Easter 2014.

It is made from 60% scrap metal from an idea that originated in a cloakroom at the Davos economic forum in 2009. This was when Mr Johnson suggested it to steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, chairman and chief executive of ArcelorMittal, as a way to build a symbol for the regeneration of east London.

ArcelorMittal, a London 2012 sponsor, is funding up to £19.6 million with the remaining £3.1 million coming from the London Development Agency.

Click here or on "View Gallery" for more pictures

PA

Arts & Entertainment
TV

Arts & Entertainment
Customers browse through Vinyl Junkies record shop in Berwick Street, Soho, London
music

Arts & Entertainment
Who laughs lass: Jenny Collier on stage
ComedyCollier was once told there were "too many women" on bill
Arts & Entertainment
Ian Anderson, the leader of British rock band Jethro Tull, (right) and British guitar player Martin Barre (left) perform on stage
music

VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Arts & Entertainment
film

Arts & Entertainment
Don (John Hamm) and Megan (Jessica Paré) Draper are going their separate ways in the final series of ‘Mad Men’
tvReview: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Arts & Entertainment
James Franco and Chris O'Dowd in Of Mice and Men on Broadway
theatre

Review: Of Mice and Men

Arts & Entertainment
art

By opportunistic local hoping to exhibit the work

Arts & Entertainment
Leonardo DiCaprio will star in an adaptation of Michael Punke's thriller 'The Revenant'
film

Fans will be hoping the role finally wins him an Oscar

Arts & Entertainment
Cody and Paul Walker pictured in 2003.
film

Arts & Entertainment
Down to earth: Fern Britton presents 'The Big Allotment Challenge'
TV

Arts & Entertainment
The London Mozart Players is the longest-running chamber orchestra in the UK
musicThreatened orchestra plays on, managed by its own members
Arts & Entertainment
Seeing red: James Dean with Sal Mineo in 'Rebel without a Cause'
film

Arts & Entertainment
TV
Arts & Entertainment
Heads up: Andy Scott's The Kelpies in Falkirk
art

What do gigantic horse heads tell us about Falkirk?

Arts & Entertainment
artGraffiti legend posts picture of work – but no one knows where it is
Arts & Entertainment
A close-up of Tom of Finland's new Finnish stamp
art

Finnish Postal Service praises the 'self irony and humour' of the drawings

Arts & Entertainment
Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in 2002's Die Another Day
film

The actor has confessed to his own insecurities

Life & Style
Green fingers: a plot in East London
TV

Allotments are the focus of a new reality show

Arts & Entertainment
Myleene Klass attends the Olivier awards 2014

Oliviers 2014Theatre stars arrive at Britain's most prestigious theatre awards
Arts & Entertainment
Stars of The Book of Mormon by Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park

Oliviers 2014Blockbuster picked up Best Musical and Best Actor in a Musical
Arts & Entertainment
Lesley Manville with her Olivier for Best Actress for her role in 'Ghosts'

Oliviers 2014Actress thanked director Richard Eyre for a stunning production
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

    How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

    Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
    Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

    British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

    The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
    Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

    Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

    Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
    A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

    A History of the First World War in 100 moments

    A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
    Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

    Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

    The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
    Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

    Cannes Film Festival

    Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
    The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

    The concept album makes surprise top ten return

    Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
    Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

    Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

    Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
    10 best baking books

    10 best baking books

    Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
    Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

    Jury still out on Pellegrini

    Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
    Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

    Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

    The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
    Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

    Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

    The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
    Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

    Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

    As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
    Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

    Mad Men returns for a final fling

    The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
    Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

    Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

    Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit