Olympic heights

Plans for an Olympic tower, designed by Anish Kapoor and paid for by Lakshmi Mittal, have been unveiled. Will it change London's skyline for the better?

Anish Kapoor's Olympic tower design

Anish Kapoor's Olympic tower design.

Anish Kapoor's Olympic tower: a grand design?

  38.6% Yes, it's a grand design
  61.4% No, it's garbage

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  • Avikwame Avikwame

    31 Mar 2010, 5:03PM

    How about using the Steel to build Hospital training Ships,University Training Ships and Water De Salination Ships,using our 12 idle Shipyards ? or is it a Gimmick Mark II ,while "Mital" steals the Steel from the Continent of Africa ?
    Using or mis Using our experienced workforce ?

  • reynardmandrake reynardmandrake

    31 Mar 2010, 5:25PM

    I do love to read the odd J G Ballard novel now and then - but this twisted wreck of metal is dreadfully ugly.

    It will be used, no doubt, as a symbol of modern Britain itself - an ugly metal train-wreck. Is Anish Kapoor having a laugh?

  • leadballoon leadballoon

    31 Mar 2010, 5:36PM

    Banksy's exhibition got Bristol City Museum into the top 30 exhibitions in the world last year - with no advance publicity. While Kapoor's at the normally more prestigious Royal Academy of Arts in London didn't make the list.

    I'd see what Banksy could make of a big commission.


  • Stephensobo Stephensobo

    31 Mar 2010, 5:36PM

    Breathtaking in a most positive way! He is a great artist and I am sorry some comments decry this work. I agree with the Kapoor about it being a modern tower of Babel. I never ever thought I would agree with Boris but he is right about this. Very rich people have, through the ages, paid for great pieces of art. Some great hospitals. Some both. It is exhilerating! - I wish there was a spell check on this!

  • Fatalistfornow Fatalistfornow

    31 Mar 2010, 5:40PM

    If it incorporates a helter skelter with those scratchy doormats I associate with 1970s funfairs then I'm all for it.

    Perhaps we could then unveil the helter skelter as an additional olympic sport on opening day - "just for fun", obviously, and invite all olympic athletes to have a go?

    Chocolate medals for winners.

    The Olympics: sorted.

  • Scurra Scurra

    31 Mar 2010, 5:44PM

    Just substitute "Angel of the North" or practically any other major massive artwork and you'll get the same response. People will hate it, and then they'll be the same people who will campaign to save it.

    I think it looks great and think that it will contribute interestingly to the London skyline - more interesting than a tower block, that's for sure.

  • Alvinson Alvinson

    31 Mar 2010, 5:48PM

    What does it do? What is the purpose of the little pod at the top? Is it just another tall structure with a viewing platform? I think the Guardian might have stretched themselves and provided a bit more information before asking us to judge it.
    Yes, it does look a bit ugly, but I can't even see the top of it in this picture, let alone other angles. "It's a grand design" and "It's garbage" are also a bit polarising. Have a clicked on the Daily Mail website by mistake?

  • fuchsoid fuchsoid

    31 Mar 2010, 6:04PM

    Boris was speculating on what this will be called - I think it will be known as "The Knitting", right up until it is pulled down for being a failure as a tourist attraction. I think it will need something a bit more exciting than this to get people to go to Stratford after the games are over.

    More even than the rest of the olympics site, this smells strongly like another Millennium Dome debacle.

  • Avikwame Avikwame

    31 Mar 2010, 6:19PM

    Look! this Guy Mittal owns our Steel Mills,dictates its price and comes up with this JUNK to HIS interest ,meanwhile we have 12 Idle Shipyards,Unemployed Steelworkers,and a 3rd World calling out for more AID ! can someone please join the dots ?
    We Excel at Ship design
    We Excel at Shipbuilding
    We Excel at Education
    We Excel at Medicine
    We Excel at Tropical Medicine
    We Excel at Pharmaceuticals
    We Excel at Aid for the 3rd World @ 5 Billion per year
    We Excel at Stupidity,wanton waste,and gimmickry !

  • kalpa108 kalpa108

    31 Mar 2010, 6:37PM

    This comment has been removed by a moderator. Replies may also be deleted.
  • SRon SRon

    31 Mar 2010, 6:42PM

    Horrid. Missed opportunity. But works OK as an over-the-top, modern, steel mill-accolading "viewing platform".

    Otherwise, if you're going to build something huge, tall, and red it should at least have some sort of symbolism, message, or taste. This does not, I don't even see any "olympic rings."

    Fine that whomever is designing and funding most of it, way off in East London, but don't expect the world to think it's amazing.
    Even for a "viewing platform," it is definitely no Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty, Sky Tower, or Cristo Redemptor.

  • Johnnymuff Johnnymuff

    31 Mar 2010, 7:14PM

    What a sad pathetic bunch most of the commentators are.
    Aren't they so, so clever in finding such witty ways to put the tower down.
    Gosh, how creative can one get!

    It's fun, lively, full of character and looks great.

    Oh I forgot that Mittel was involved. Could this be the reason some (open thinkers all, of course) are a wee bit anti?

  • lwhi lwhi

    31 Mar 2010, 7:27PM

    If a large public sculpture like this can be taken as a symbol of the aspirations of a country - I think there's something quite pleasantly honest / realistic about this one.

    While the Eiffel Tower is regular and authoritarian .. this is a sprawling mess. No hierarchy - no single, pointed ambition. Just an organic, amorphous network of appendages. It's quite a modern statement - maybe a statement that we as a country should aim to promote.

    The references to roller-coaster / helter-skelter is quite a witty touch. Bit self-deprecating maybe .. but ultimately a reminder that good times follow bad - and all is connected.

    I think I might grow to like it.

  • Idonotwantaplainbox Idonotwantaplainbox

    31 Mar 2010, 7:35PM


    No we're a wee bit (slight under exaggeration on my part for sure) anti because we have the capacity to recognise what an odious pile of tripe this is. And, more importantly, given the scale of such a monstrosity it matters whether or not it has timeless appeal; if this has little appeal now, I can only imagine what we will think of this in even 10 years. If this is buillt it will represent nothing less than barbarism - what a travesty that British citizens are time and time again victims of such misguided and arrogant follies that do nothing but continually worsen our urban landscapes

  • tybo tybo

    31 Mar 2010, 7:50PM

    I didn't vote - it seems daft to choose between "garbage" and "grand design" as if there is nothing in between.

    Of course, it is hideous. Whatever drugs the people who think it is "breathtaking" or "looks great" are on, I definitely want some.

    On the other hand it looks like fun. Hideous in a fun way. And it might look better if you climb up it or walk around it. Indeed it might be a lot of fun to clamber about in.

    And fair's fair. It isn't as bad as that fucking Logo. After that, anything has to look good.

    @Fuchsoid "The Knitting" it is.

  • imnosuperman imnosuperman

    31 Mar 2010, 8:31PM

    A couple of days ago there was a piece about a similar monstrosity that was also letterbox red but resembled a pick-up truck without wheels, and now this!!
    These highly paid architects, like most artists, do not dream up these abominations to impress the poor buggers who will have to live and look at their creations for years to come, but to impress the small circle of sponsors/patrons/critics who are too far up their own arses to even consider that sometimes we - the paying public, like to see something that is just aesthetically pleasing, not screaming some message or other, or making some statement, but simply looking bloody gorgeous!!!!

  • LabanTall LabanTall

    31 Mar 2010, 8:50PM

    I don't think the bits that look like a helter skelter (helter skeletor?) even are.

    It would have been nice just to build the world's biggest helter skelter so we could all have a slide .

    But it's certainly symbolic of the UK - an ugly mess and mostly foreign-owned. I like to think the steel used will come from derelict UK factory buildings.

  • eileenphoto eileenphoto

    31 Mar 2010, 9:42PM

    It appears disconnected from it's environment. Is it a folly rather than a monument or sculpture?
    Like the melting transformer comment but overall not keen.
    A massive Optimus Prime would be fun.

  • Streatham Streatham

    31 Mar 2010, 9:53PM


    I think it's great, ambitious and bold.

    In what sense is it 'ambitious and bold'? This is just marketing talk - like 'visionary', 'innovative', 'inspirational'.

  • digit digit

    31 Mar 2010, 9:59PM

    A suitably tasteless monument to an international plutocrat exploiter. Still, it would be a kindness to Kapoor to suggest the critique was deliberate.

  • TopTroll TopTroll

    31 Mar 2010, 10:02PM

    I almost love it - they have tapped into exactly the thing that is missing in London - something that you can legally climb. I just wish it wasn't the colour of my granddad?s bum.

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