Saturday, October 29, 2011
To date, London’s Olympic venues have been notable for their quiet restraint and structural simplicity – slender frames, pared back to an efficient minimum, in line with the flat-pack, austerity Games. The velodrome roof uses only 100 tonnes of steel, the main stadium is the lightest ever of its kind.
But it seems no one told Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond. On Friday afternoon, the final loop of their ArcelorMittal Orbit was installed, completing the vast tangle of steel – 2,000 tonnes of it – which now looms a mocking 115m above the Park, the lunatic red twin of Populous’s white essay in leanness.
Boris Johnson dreamt up the idea for a tower in 2008, fearing our Olympics needed “something extra … to arouse the curiosity and wonder” of visitors to the Games, in light of Beijing’s bombastic bird’s nest. Keen for a similarly catchy nickname, he has already likened the Orbit to “a giant treble clef” and “supersized mutant trombone,” yet it clearly fits more into Kapoor’s scatological oeuvre...
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Originally published in BD, 29 October 2011