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The project has also brought out Londoners' complicated feelings about public art, several people involved in the project said.
"The most lasting legacy of the multimillion pound circus about to roll into town will be a big red clot on the landscape," the columnist Catherine Cain wrote of the Orbit in The Watford Observer, the newspaper of a town near London.
Unlike other examples of public art, the Orbit needed a snack bar and a gift shop and is designed to please the masses of tourists who will want sweeping views of London to go with the Olympic revelry. The two elevators are equipped to carry as many as 770 visitors an hour up to the pair of observation platforms.
thought London needed a high energy something," Balmond said. "We thought this idea represents flux, change and London is full of change, with various ethnic streams."
They found inspiration for the Orbit in the Tower of Babel and Tatlin's Tower, a helix shaped mass of iron, glass and steel designed by the Russian artist and architect Vladimir Tatlin, but never built.
In an interview Kapoor called the Orbit's entry fee "a lot of money for a lot of people" and said after the Olympics he'd like a price that matched his vision of a "democratic monument open to all."
"We have a funny view about public art in Britain it's seen as slightly odd and elitist," said John Simpson, an architect at Ushida Findlay, a London firm that helped transform the sculpture into a structurally sound, functional building. (The Orbit has had a more favorable reception among art and architecture critics.)
Britain's deep recession, the city, Johnson told Mittal, needed a private donation to build its largest public art project in decades.
That the tower, which will open to the public with the start of the games on July 27, will have an admission price of 15 pounds ($23), on top of the 10 pound ($15) entrance fee to the park, only adds to a widespread perception of excess and elitism.
of Stratford in East London into a mixed use development, with the Orbit as a focal point. "I think it's time to tear up any notion of the Olympics' leaving behind white elephants," Cameron said in a news conference.
In 2010 Kapoor and Balmond, who then worked for the engineering and design firm Arup (best known for its work on the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Sydney Opera House and the "Bird's Nest" Olympic stadium in Beijing), won an open competition to design something that would add pizazz to the mostly white stadiums and buildings that make up the Olympic Park.
In spite of all the grumbling around the city, that might not be too tough. After a friend described the Orbit as an eyesore, a Londoner, Benjamin Tucker, noted in a Twitter message that "it would take an awful lot to blight East London. Stratford's a dump!".
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Many Londoners don't see it quite that way.
They've called the Orbit, designed by the Indian born sculptor Anish Kapoor and the Sri Lankan architect Cecil Balmond, the "Eye full Tower" and "Helter Skelter," and have compared it to a "contorted mass of entrails." Envisioned as a symbol of London looming over the site of this summer's Olympic Games, the Orbit, which visitors will enter, ascend and explore, is designed as an attraction to rival the London Eye and Big Ben for decades to come. And, at least for now, the sculpture is also serving as a prime target for British Olympic crankiness.
"The UK didn't have the money that the Chinese had for Beijing," said Ian Louden, head of brand worldwide for ArcelorMittal. He added that the company saw the structure as a chance to spread brand awareness.
LONDON Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, has said that the ArcelorMittal Orbit, a spiraling goliath of red tangled steel that stands 35 stories above the city's Olympic Park, would have "dwarfed" the aspirations of Gustave Eiffel and "boggled the minds" of the ancient Romans.
story London sculpture a lightning rod for criticism
Mittal contributed 19.6 million pounds (or $31.4 million), almost the entire budget of the project, to have the sculpture named after his company. Nearly 60 percent of the more than 2,000 tons of steel used to make the Orbit came from recycled scrap. The materials were procured from every continent in which ArcelorMittal operates and were assembled in a factory near Manchester.
Cameron has promoted the city's post Olympic plans to develop the derelict district Skechers For Girls High Cut
The Orbit will sit in the center of a grassy pedestrian area. "The key to success here is that first and foremost it's got to appeal to the local residents," said Andrew Altman, chief executive of the development corporation.
One of the most visible additions to the London skyline in decades and its tallest sculptural tower (about 70 feet higher than the Statue of Liberty), the Orbit has drawn criticism not just for its avant garde design, but as a symbol in spite of its mostly private financing of the billions in government money being spent on the Olympics at a time when Britons are struggling under austerity measures put in place by the Conservative government of Prime Minister David Cameron.
But 51 percent of British residents surveyed in March said they disagreed with Cameron's statements that the Olympic Games would be well worth the 9.3 billion pounds ($14.5 billion) cost to taxpayers, according to ComRes, a polling company. Government officials have since said that that figure has risen by an estimated 20 percent to 11 billion pounds ($17.2 billion), driven largely by the cost of security.
The Orbit project got its start in 2009 after Johnson ran into Lakshmi Mittal, the chief executive of the huge steel maker ArcelorMittal and one of the world's richest men, at the coat check room at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The mayor pitched Mittal the idea of building something to add artistic panache to the Olympic Park. Constrained by Vans Olive Green
After its completion in May, Mittal donated the Orbit to the London Legacy Development Corp., which will be responsible for transforming the Olympic Park into a housing development, complete with parks, retail space and a transformed aquatics center after the games.
To descend the Orbit, visitors must meander along a winding, 1,150 foot staircase with 455 stairs. After the Olympics, the Orbit will serve as the centerpiece of a Vans Toy Story Edition public pavilion with the capacity to host corporate events, gallery exhibitions and as many as 1 million visitors annually.
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