To get orbiting views of Olympics London, a 1,500-ton-steel tower, the ruby red 37-storey Arcelormittal Orbit has been constructed in East London’s Olympic Park. It gives incredible and compelling panoramic views of London from its two-tier observation deck. Spectators, sometimes, have to be forcibly ejected as they refuse to budge from the fantastic view. It is Britain’s tallest structure and it was primarily designed by engineer Cecil Balmond and Turner Prize-winning artist Anish Kapoor.
While visitors wait for the elevator to go to the top of the Orbit, they are shown time-lapse videos of the structure’s construction where only two workers are shown assembling sections of tubular steel like a child’s construction set. The Olympic Park has 4,000 trees and 150,000 perennial plants, including many golden wildflowers that can be seen scattered around canals and among the distinctive Games venues from the outdoor section of the observation deck of the Orbit. From the central window of the deck, you can see straight down to the bottom of the sculpture and the indoor portion of the observation deck has a pair of over-size concave mirrors that produce fun-house reflections of visitors.
On the way down from the top, while walking down the spiraling 455-step staircase along the outside of the tower, the full effect of the structure’s shape-shifting form can be enjoyed. The Orbit’s unconventional design gives a silhouette that vaguely resembles a shisha pipe and it evokes many controversies. The Orbit was opened on 12 August for the Olympic Games and after the Games, it was temporarily closed to enable the Olympic Park to be re-developed into a site for featuring public swimming pools, sports complexes, residential housing and a museum dedicated to London’s history of hosting three Olympic Games.
The Orbit is expected to re-open in July 2013, as a ticketed attraction with a cafe, where private functions will be allowed to be hosted. Till such time that it reopens, the Orbit will continue to serve as a landmark of the city that will be illuminated by coloured spotlights. Off and on, a 15-minute light show will be exhibited.