A ground-breaking ceremony was held yesterday, on the Olympic Park, to mark the start of construction work on the ArcelorMittal Orbit – London’s newest major landmark.
The sculpture was designed by award winning artist Anish Kapoor in collaboration with one of the world’s leading structural designers, Cecil Balmond. It will become a major iconic attraction in the future Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, Lakshmi Mittal, CEO and Chairman of ArcelorMittal were joined by Anish Kapoor and Chief Executive of the Olympic Park Legacy Company, Andrew Altman, at the Park yesterday.
Situated between the Olympic Stadium and the Aquatics Centre, the ArcelorMittal Orbit will give visitors a view of the entire Olympic Park and across London’s skyline. Visitors will be able to take a trip up the structure in a lift and will have the option of walking down the spiralling staircase.
The ArcelorMittal Orbit, which will be Britain’s tallest sculpture, will consist of a continuous looping lattice of tubular steel and standing at a gigantic 114m.The work is considered to be at the cutting edge of sculpture, architecture and engineering.
The ArcelorMittal Orbit is expected to be completed and handed over to the Legacy Company by March 2012. The London Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) will operate the Orbit in the summer of 2012. After a period of transformation, the Legacy Company is expected to re-open the visitor attraction in Spring 2013.
London Mayor Boris Johnson said: "Long after the Olympic and Paralympic Games are over, thanks to the ArcelorMittal Orbit and Lakshmi Mittal, we will have a stunning new spectacle in London. Recognised the world over, the Orbit will not only be an amazing piece of art, but it will draw visitors from every corner of the globe to East London. With Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond as the design team, the ArcelorMittal Orbit will be a truly iconic addition to London's skyline and as a family attraction will offer something for everyone who visits the Olympic Park. I am delighted we are breaking the ground and can't wait to see the red steel of the Orbit reaching for the sky."
Lakshmi Mittal, CEO and Chairman of ArcelorMittal, commented: “It gives me great personal pleasure to make possible this iconic element of the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games and to see construction begin. I hope that the ArcelorMittal Orbit will become a landmark of the future Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, which will endure long after the Games themselves and remind visitors of the great versatility of steel. This is my gift to London, the place that I have had the pleasure of calling home for many years now.”
Anish Kapoor said: “I am delighted that construction work has started today. I would like to thank everyone who has shown their support for the project – The Mayor, ArcelorMittal, art and architecture experts, the project team, the local community and many others.”
Cecil Balmond, said: "Anish Kapoor and I have collaborated on a number of projects. We share a particular interest in looking at form afresh. The ArcelorMittal project is a great opportunity for us to news release create a living laboratory of design that blurs boundaries between different disciplines: art, architecture and structure. For me, creativity has always gone hand in with innovation and new thinking about our experience of space. This has been particularly important on my architectural projects and installations. To make a sculpture that is a journey into form for its viewers is an exceptional opportunity. It really is a great privilege to work with the London 2012 Team and ArcelorMittal on this major work of public art."
Andrew Altman, Chief Executive of the Olympic Park Legacy Company, said: “I am thrilled that we are all here today to mark this momentous occasion of the start of the build of this iconic visitor attraction. When you are able to combine an industry leader with a world renowned artist, supported by significant investment, we clearly see the significance to the Olympic Park. This visitor attraction will sit alongside our iconic venues and, in animating the site, will encourage the public to use the Park. This is a magnificent legacy asset.”
ArcelorMittal will fund up to £19.2million of the £22.3million project with the outstanding £3.1 million provided by the London Development Agency.