Standing Tall for Britain or a Twisted Eyesore?


Standing Tall for Britain or a Twisted Eyesore? 
£22m Monument for London 2012 reaches full height


It has been likened to Meccano on crack, the Eiffel Tower after a nuclear explosion and a giant 'hubble-bubble' shisha pipe.
But love it or hate it, this huge tangle of metal is here to stay after the final steel loop was lowered into place on the £22.7million ArcelorMittal Orbit earlier this week.Designed by Turner Prize-winning artist Anish Kapoor, the controversial structure has now reached its full height of 376ft.

Steely gaze: The sculpture, which is 72ft taller than the Statue of Liberty, will give visitors prime views of the Olympic stadium from two observation floors

Steely gaze: The sculpture, which is 72ft taller than the Statue of Liberty, will give visitors prime views of the Olympic stadium from two observation floors

Monument: Builders lower the final piece of the ArcelorMittal Orbit sculpture into place at the Olympic Park yesterday

Monument: Builders lower the final piece of the ArcelorMittal Orbit sculpture into place at the Olympic Park yesterday

It is not only the tallest sculpture in the UK, but also 72ft taller than the Statue of Liberty and is intended to be a lasting monument to Britain's role in hosting the London 2012 Olympics.
Visitors will be able to look down to the showpiece Olympic stadium from the latest landmark to London's skyline.

It will have 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.

Steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, ArcelorMittal's chairman and chief executive who has invested £19.6 million into the project, described it as 'an ideal showcase for the versatility of steel'.
ArcelorMittal, a London 2012 sponsor, is funding up to £19.6 million while the remaining £3.1 million is coming from the Greater LondonAuthority.

Viewpoint: The two-level observation deck will allow spectators to watch the action in the Olympic stadium

Viewpoint: The two-level observation deck will allow spectators to watch the action in the Olympic stadium

Builders work on lowering the final piece to get the London 2012 ArcelorMittal Orbit sculpture completed
Builders work on lowering the final piece to get the sculpture completed

Don't drop it! Two sections of the £22million sculpture are slowly hoisted into place 

Intricate: The glass lift shaft that will carry visitors to the two observation platforms can be seen through the web of steel beams

Intricate: The glass lift shaft that will carry visitors to the two observation platforms can be seen through the web of steel beams
When the designed was first unveiled in March last year, it was instantly nicknamed the Eyeful Tower - and likened enthusiastically by London Mayor Boris Johnson to a giant 'hubble-bubble' shisha pipe.

But contributors to Twitter and similar internet sites took only minutes to criticise the work. One described it as 'a rollercoaster that costs £19million a go'. Other early phrases included 'twisted spaghetti', 'horrific squiggles' and 'Meccano on crack'. 

Mr Kapoor, 56, said it was 'thrilling' to be offered the chance to create for the capital something on a par with what Gustave Eiffel made in Paris.
'It would be terribly arrogant to compete with Eiffel who spent his entire life making that thing,' said Kapoor. 'What we’re trying to make is the best thing we can do'.
The artist sees his looping, deep red-coloured tower as 'an eccentric structure that looks as if it’s going to fall over'.

Magic moment: The final piece of the vast
steel jigsaw is slotted into place

Magic moment: Workers secure the last section of the vast steel jigsaw to complete the sculpture 

Dwarfs the Wharf: The Orbit tower, seen with
Canary Wharf in the background is the tallest building in Britain. Critics say it will be a blot on the landscape
Dwarfs the Wharf: The Orbit tower, seen with Canary Wharf in the background, is the tallest building in Britain. Critics say it will be a blot on the landscape
Enlarge Arcelormittal Orbit

Britian's biggest piece of public art: At 115 metres high, the steel tower will be taller than the Statue of Liberty in New York

It has been created with the aid of Cecil Balmond, deputy chairman of Arup engineers, with whom Kapoor created the red trumpet, Marsyas, for Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall in 2002.
Financing deals were signed between principal backer Lakshmi Mittal, the steel magnate who is the fifth richest man in the world, who has committed £16million towards the £19.1million cost, and Mr Johnson, who dreamed up the project. 

Mr Johnson said last year: 'Some will say we are nuts - in the depths of a recession - to be building Britain’s biggest ever piece of public art.
'But Tessa Jowell [the Olympics minister] and I are certain that this is the right thing for the Stratford site, in Games time and beyond.'
Mr Mittal, whose company supplied much of the 1,400 tons of steel, said he had wanted to give 'a lasting gift' to the 'wonderful city' where he has lived since 1997.

Businessman Lakshmi Mittal (right) jokes with London mayor Boris Johnson at City Hall before unveiling a scale model of the proposed ArcelorMittal Orbit tower

Amusing: Businessman Lakshmi Mittal (right) jokes with Mr Johnson at City Hall before unveiling a scale model of the proposed ArcelorMittal Orbit tower

Architect Anish Kapoor with the scale model of the tower. The full-size structure will be sited next to the Olympic stadium for the 2012 games

Towering: Architect Anish Kapoor with the scale model of the tower. The full-size structure is sited next to the Olympic stadium for the 2012 games