To get ready for the 2012 Olympic games, London needed the customary facelift that goes along with the festivities. Efforts have been made to push London into a new era of its urban landscape and with the recent addition by artist Anish Kapoor, London may have what it needs to kickstart the festivities. Kapoor, working alongside architect Cecil Balmond, designed a 377 foot behemoth of twisted metal and breathtaking views as the centerpiece of London's Olympic park.
The massive structure abandons the conventional design of Olympic monuments past. Its non-rectilinear design gives a sense of chaos while still maintaining its gravity-defying integrity. The piece, titled "Orbit," is a gnarled steel structure that seems as if it could topple over at any moment, but Kapoor assures that with the help of Balmond, the structure is sound for the many visitors that they expect. "We want people to forget the engineering, the construction, the materials and simply 'experience' it," Balmond told Art Lyst.
Visitors are able to reach an upper-level observation deck by taking a lift that weaves up the sculpture while taking a 455 step helical staircase to get back down. After deciding on Kapoor and Balmond's design, Lakshmi Mittal, the project's benefactor, chose Ushida Findlay Architects to turn it into a reality. Mittal told the Guardian, "This project is an incredible opportunity to build something really spectacular for London, for the Olympic games, and something that will play a lasting role in the legacy of the games."
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson echoes the previous comparisons to the Eiffel Tower, but says "Orbit" will be in a realm of its own. Johnson spoke to The Guardian of Kapoor's design, "He has taken the idea of a tower and transformed it into a piece of modern British art. It would have boggled the minds of the Romans. It would have boggled Gustave Eiffel."