A sculpture in the middle of the Olympic Park has been opened by the mayor of London.
The Orbit has been designed by Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond and forms a key part of the Olympic village.
Mayor Boris Johnson explained that the structure is an “a masterpiece of design and engineering” and compared it to France’s Eiffel Tower.
“It endlessly repays the viewer, it is a very rewarding thing to look at. The Eiffel Tower is very simple, the Shard, behind me, is a piece of cake – any child of two could do that – this is much more elaborate, more sophisticated, more intriguing and complex,” the recently re-elected Mr Johnson told CNN.
The Orbit Tower is twice as high as Nelson’s Column at 114.5 metres high and visitors can opt to climb the 455 steps to the top or use one of the two available elevators. At the top of the tower there are two observation decks that will allow people enjoying London hotel deals to experience a spectacular view across the capital city.
Financing of the project was largely provided by steelmaker ArcelorMittal. The company provided around £19 million of the total £24 million needed to complete the project.
Lakshmi Mittal, chief executive officer of ArcelorMittal, said: “The Olympics are a global games – the whole world participates, 202 countries. ArcelorMittal has businesses in so many countries around the world and so I wanted everyone to participate.”
Tickets to the tower, which is taller than the Statue of Liberty in New York, will cost £15 for adults and £7 for children, however, it is hoped that eventually entry will be free once the cost of building the structure has been recouped.