Channel: Life & Style

Thursday, April 22, 2010
Nerves of steel
London Mayor Unveils Anish Kapoor Sculpture For 2012 Olympic Park
 
 

London Mayor Unveils Anish Kapoor Sculpture For 2012 Olympic Park

 

 

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 31: (L-R) Mayor of London Boris Johnson, Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell, Steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, Artist Anish Kapoor and Structural designer Cecil Balmond unveil a new visitor attraction to be placed in the 2012 Olympic Park, at City Hall on March 31, 2010 in London, England. The steel structure entitled 'The ArcelorMittal Orbit' is set to become the UK's largest sculpture standing at 115m in height. 16m GBP of the cost of the structure is to be funded by the steel company AreclorMittal after its CEO Lakshmi Mittal was approached by Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.

(Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

 

The man standing in the centre of the image has been confirmed yet again as the richest man in UK according to the recently published Rich List 2010 by The Sunday Times (UK). Not only did he retain the top slot but he also more than doubled his wealth to GBP 22.8bn in the last one year. Quite a remarkable feat given that the world is still feeling the tremors of the economic crises.

 

Lakshmi Mittal, the steel magnate, clearly has some spare cash at his disposal that he could give to noble and generous causes, and so he did. The Olympics Park will see installation of this giant sculpture part sponsored by ArcelorMittal. The “ArcelorMittal Orbit” as it will be popularly known will feature viewing platforms that will provide stunning sights to the London skyline.

 

The people of Britain (and those outside) are divided on how they feel about this sculpture. There is a sense of Déjà vu all over again as this announcement bears striking resemblance to the sentiments in the air at the time when the Logo for Olympic Games was presented to the nation.

 

I am indifferent to what the creative critics have to say about this but am very much interested in what will be the economic impact of such an installation given there is a such a massive debate on cutting public expenditure in the ongoing election campaign.

 

I don’t take anything away from ArcelorMittal in supporting a cause that is likely to leave a legacy effect as is desired by the Games committee. However there aren’t many cases where the expenditure on games has had a lasting effect on the economy. The one that comes to mind immediately is the salvaging act that Athens, Greece had to do after their massive expenditure on games. The country is having some serious debt problems now. Perhaps there is a lesson here for New Delhi on their upcoming Commonwealth Games in October 2010.

 
Now the people in the picture standing to the right of Lakshmi Mittal are political beings who certainly will move on in a few years to other political corridors and those to his left are creative geniuses who will experiment their creative visions with something bigger and bolder. But Lakshmi’s and ArcelorMittal’s names will be attached to this gigantic, twisted scraper will be in the face of Londoners every single day.
 

Whether it will deliver the legacy and the purported economic impact is for time to tell. But I truly would like to understand Lakshmi Mittal’s thinking when he agreed to support this initiative. I do have a hunch that ArcelorMittal may have put a lot (in terms of their brand) at stake here and it takes Nerves of Steel to do something so big.

 

“I wonder if our readers feel the same way as I do.”

 

Please provide your comments on the article or write to us on tic.editorial@etidynamics.co

 
 

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