The ArcelorMittal Orbit is a world-class landmark celebrating the London Olympics – and a lasting symbol of our commitment to art and sports
At ArcelorMittal, we are passionate about steel. So when the chance arose to provide the steel for a major new landmark for east London, we took it – and ensured that the best architects, engineers and project managers got involved too.
Steel is such a part of modern life that it can often go unnoticed, in the car you drive or the washing machine that does the family’s laundry. We saw the prospect of using steel in a landmark for the London 2012 Olympic Park, the ArcelorMittal Orbit, as a chance to celebrate steel’s beauty, strength and versatility.
The story of the ArcelorMittal Orbit is one of collaboration and innovation. In March 2010, the Mayor of London Boris Johnson and Lakshmi Mittal, chairman and chief executive of ArcelorMittal, unveiled plans for the ArcelorMittal Orbit, designed by artist Anish Kapoor and structural engineer and architect Cecil Balmond.
The design was the winning entry to a competition launched by Mr Johnson to create “something extra” to celebrate London 2012, which would "arouse the curiosity and wonder of Londoners and visitors".
As Mr Balmond said when the design was unveiled, London’s newest landmark was destined to be made from steel: “The ArcelorMittal Orbit could really only be built in steel, to give the minimum thicknesses and the maximum strength,” he explained. “I didn’t really think of any other material.”
A chance meeting
ArcelorMittal’s involvement came about through a chance meeting between Mr Johnson and Mr Mittal at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2009.
“I think everyone in London wants to put on an amazing show for the world at the 2012 Olympic Games. So when Boris mentioned the idea of constructing a special piece of art to commemorate the Olympics, I was fascinated to know more, particularly when he said he wanted it to be built from steel,” said Mr Mittal.
Standing between the Olympic Stadium and Zaha Hadid’s Aquatics Centre, the ArcelorMittal Orbit is now a central feature of the Olympic Park, with the potential to attract up to 5,000 visitors a day.
The sculpture consists of a continuous loop lattice of tubular steel, which is 114.5m high. On a clear day it will be possible to see more than 20 miles into the distance from the viewing platforms, which are 80m above the park.
ArcelorMittal has embraced the global spirit of the Olympic Games by sourcing steel from its plants all around the world to build the sculpture. In line with the London 2012 Olympic vision of sustainability, 60% of the 2,000 tonnes of steel used in the project has been recycled from scrap. ArcelorMittal has funded £19m of the £23m project, with the remaining £4m provided by the London Development Agency.
“It is a fantastic way to give a lasting gift to London, to play a part in the regeneration of a specific area of London and to signal our support for an iconic global sporting event,” said Mr Mittal. ArcelorMittal is a tier-two sponsor and official steel supporter of the Olympic Games.
Building a huge steel structure to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games is a great opportunity for ArcelorMittal to showcase the unique qualities of steel – and to share our passion for steel with the world.