If a roller coaster and a 300-foot hookah had a baby, it would probably look something like the new ArcelorMittal Orbit, the architectural wonder designed for the London 2012 games.
Anish Kapoor’s mangled, red tower beat out designs from some of London’s best-known artists and architects in part because it is just plain weird. The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, claimed, “Some eyes may detect a helter-skelter or a supersized mutant trombone. Some may even see the world’s biggest ever representation of a shisha pipe and call it The Hubble-Bubble.” Now I have no idea what a Hubble-Bubble is, but the tower is definitely that cool kind of Michael Cera weird. It’s like the Lady Gaga of towers.
The Orbit will cost about £19.1 million and stretch to about 115 m (377 feet). It’s being financed by the richest man in Britain, steel giant Lakshmi Mittal, which raises the question of corporate involvement in the Olympics. Yes this tower will make the East London skyline infinitely more fun to look at, but it is seen by some as a gaudy, massive waste of money to build an aesthetically-pleasing, but highly impractical piece of art in the midst of economic crisis. Some have also accused Mittal and the Mayor of imposing corporate branding and subliminal advertising on the public.
I would say if you don’t like it, don’t look at it, but a huge red piece of confusion is kind of hard to miss. Either way, the tower should be built by December 2011, so the question becomes…What the heck do we call this thing? Cause somehow I just don’t see “Hubble-Bubble” up there with the “Eiffel Tower” or the “Washington Monument”….maybe it’s me.