Above is Kapoor's latest creation. 377 feet tall - higher than the Statue of Liberty, pedestal and all. What it lacks in height, compared, inevitably, to the Eiffel Tower, it makes up for in audacity. A "continuous looping lattice of tubular steel," designed with the connivance of super-engineer and regular Kapoor collaborator Cecil Balmond, it's to be the symbol of the 2012 London Olympics. (Can we begin a pool now on whether it gets finished in time?) It will stand next to the Populous/Peter Cook Olympic stadium and close enough to Zaha Hadid's sweeping Aquatic Center to poke it in the eye. Kapoor said his work represents the dynamism of a city coming out a recession.
A steal (steel?) at $29,000,000, most of the funding - and the 1,400 tons of steel - will come from Lakshmi Mittal, founder/CEO of global steelmaker ArcelorMittal, whose personal net worth of somewhere around $19 billion should come in handy when the cost overruns come calling.
When asked for a reaction to the project, a spokesman for the Pigeon's Guild of Greater London Excepting Hammersmith and Fulham declined immediate comment, but admitted to being "intrigued by the possibilities". Despite the reputation of Balmond's firm ARUP for cutting-edge engineering, London bookmakers this morning were still posting 3-to-1 odds in favor of the Lord Nelson column beating the crap out of The Orbit should a direct confrontation transpire.