Anish Kapoor’s Recycled Steel ArcelorMittal Orbit Tower Now Complete in London
The ArcelorMittal Orbit is an observation tower located in the heart of London’s Olympic Park and stands at almost 4,500 feet tall. The sculpture was designed by Anish Kapoor, and structural engineering was done by Cecil Balmond. Visitors to the tower will ascend via an elevator in the core to enjoy the observation deck at the top. The platform will afford panoramic views of up to 20 miles, encompassing the entire Olympic Park and London’s skyline beyond. After their visit is over, visitors will be encouraged to descend via the 455 steps that were designed to make the visitors feel as if they were orbiting around the structure. Or just get really dizzy.
ArcelorMittal, the sponsor of the tower and the Olympics, is a leading steel manufacturer and provided the material for the sculpture. Construction of the ArcelorMittal Orbit took 18 months and required 560 meters of tubular red steel to form the lattice superstructure. Almost 60 percent of the 2,000 tonnes of steel used in the sculpture were drawn from recycled sources. Steel was chosen for its unique properties including strength, modular structure, advantages of weight and speed of construction and recyclability. The exterior of the structure is outfitted with 250 colored spotlights that can be controlled and programmed for special effects.
Cecil Balmond: “Anish and I were conscious from the beginning that the ArcelorMittal Orbit would be a lasting legacy to the city and so we wanted to stretch the language of the icon as far we could go. The Orbit is a hybrid, a network of art and structure, and its dynamic is the non-linear. You read into it multiple narratives in space.”