After seeing The Bean (Cloud Gate) in Chicago, little bears decided to check out what Indian-born British artist Sir Anish Kapoor has done in London.
The ArcelorMittal Orbit is the first public artwork by Anish Kapoor to be lit.
The ArcelorMittal Orbit (often referred to as the Orbit Tower or simply just the Orbit) is Britain’s largest piece of public art (114.5m tall). Orbit was designed by Turner-Prize winning artist Sir Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond of engineering Group Arup.
Anish Kapoor’s sculpture is often architectural in scale. He is one of the most influential sculptors of his generation. Perhaps most famous for public sculptures that are both adventures in form and feats of engineering, he manoeuvres between vastly different scales, across numerous series of work. Immense PVC skins, stretched or deflated; concave or convex mirrors whose reflections attract and swallow the viewer; recesses carved in stone and pigmented so as to disappear: these voids and protrusions summon up deep-felt metaphysical polarities of presence and absence, concealment and revelation. Forms turn themselves inside out, womb-like, and materials are not painted but impregnated with colour, as if to negate the idea of an outer surface, inviting the viewer to the inner reaches of the imagination.
Kapoor said that one of the influences on his design was the Tower of Babel, the sense of “building the impossible” that “has something mythic about it”, and that the form “straddles Eiffel and Tatlin”. Balmond, working on the metaphor of an orbit, envisaged an electron cloud moving, to create a structure that appears unstable, propping itself up, “never centred, never quite vertical”. Both believe that Orbit represents a new way of thinking, “a radical new piece of structure and architecture and art” that uses non-linearity – the use of “instabilities as stabilities”. The spaces inside the structure, in between the twisting steel, are “cathedral like”, according to Balmond, while according to Kapoor, the intention is that visitors will engage with the piece as they wind “up and up and in on oneself” on the spiral walkway.
You’ll have to engage with the piece of sculpture as you wind down and down, visitors can only use the stairs going down.
Orbit functions as an observation tower, with two indoor viewing platforms on two levels.
Two large concave mirrors turn the horizon on its head – you have to see it to believe it!
From the lower viewing platform, you can access The Slide! It is London’s newest attraction. At a length of 178m, it is the world’s tallest and longest tunnel slide and you’ll experience speeds of 24 kilometers per hour. Kapoor claims plans to install a slide around the Orbit were “foisted” on him by the Mayor of London.
A little rest to recover…