A steel loop designed by Turner Prize-winning artist Anish Kapoor is to be built at the heart of the Olympic Park, Johnson said yesterday.
The £19.1 million (€21.m) project, complete with viewing platform, spiral staircase, lift and restaurant, will stand 22m taller than the Statue of Liberty and be sited between the showpiece Olympic Stadium and the Aquatics Centre.
Stranding at some 400ft high, it is a tad shy of the Paris landmark’s 1,063ft.
Kapoor and structural designer Cecil Balmond of Arup edged out artist Anthony Gormley and architects Caruso St John for the job – which he described as “the commission of a lifetime” – to create a new visitor landmark for the park.
Johnson said of Kapoor’s design: “He has taken the idea of a tower, and transformed it into a piece of modern British art.
“It would have boggled the minds of the Romans. It would have boggled Gustave Eiffel.”
Kapoor said he was trying to reinvent the tower when he struck upon the idea of the continuous looping lattice of tubular steel that will provide views of the 250-acre Olympic Park and the London skyline.
The sculpture, thought to be the tallest in Britain, will be known as the ArcelorMittal Orbit. Businessman Lakshmi Mittal, chairman of ArcelorMittal, is putting in £16m while the rest is coming from the London Development Agency.