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Artist Anish Kapoor has won the commission to design a 115m high public artwork at Olympic Park in London, to be built as part of London’s Olympic Games in 2012.

The sculpture, called ArcelorMittal Orbit, has been designed in collaboration with structural engineer Cecil Balmond of Arup.

The sculpture – the largest in the UK– will consist of a continuous looping lattice of tubular steel mimicking the orbital trajectory of space objects. The tower will offer views of the  Olympic Park and London’s skyline from a viewing platform. Visitors will be able to take a trip up the structure in a large elevator and will have the option of walking down the spiralling staircase.

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One of the world’s most distinguished contemporary artists, Turner Prize winning Anish Kapoor studied in London, where he is now based. He is well known for his use of rich pigment and imposing, yet popular works, such as  the giant reflecting pod like sculpture Cloud Gate in Chicago’s Millennium Park.

Anish Kapoor’s controversial proposal has been developed in collaboration with one of the world’s leading structural designers, Cecil Balmond of Arup. Balmond, who trained and lives in London, is known for his innovative work on some of the greatest contemporary buildings in the world, such as the CCTV building in Beijing. The two began working together in 2002 and have become renowned for their ambitious, large-scale public art projects.

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The attraction will stand in the southern part of the Olympic Park between the Stadium and Aquatics Centre and will open in time for the 2012 Games. After completion, the Olympic Park Legacy Company will take ownership and run the visitor attraction.

However, the sculpture is not without its significant criticisms, many of which have been a result of the Orbit’s comparison to the Eiffel Tower. Perhaps judgment should be reserved until the project has been constructed and allowed to dwell for a time in its place. Only the test of time will ultimately determine its place in the pantheon of world towers.

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