Orbit in Stratford should be free for all, says designer Anish Kapoor

The ArcelorMittal Orbit should be a free visitor attraction once it reopens after the London 2012 Games, according to one of its designers.

Speaking at the sculpture’s media preview on Friday artist Anish Kapoor, who designed the Orbit with engineer Cecil Balmond, said he wanted to create a piece of artwork that could be visited by everyone.

The Orbit, made of around 2,000 tonnes of steel,will be open during the Olympics and Paralympics to people with tickets for events in the Olympic Park. They will be charged �15 for adults to visit the attraction and �7 for young people aged 16 or under and seniors aged 60 or over.

After the games the Orbit will shut while work in the Park is done, and then is due to reopen in Easter 2014.

Mr Kapoor said: “I would love to see the Orbit be free. I think we sought to make a democratic monument and �15 makes it less so.”

The preview was also attended by seven children from Carpenters Primary School, Friendship Way, Stratford.

The group of 11-year-olds, Paige Housham, Oguz Ozcan, Raven Wood, Daphne Asuoha, Erisa Miftari, Nakul Patel and Michael Matovu, have grown up watching the Olympic Park take shape and were excited to be able to go to the top of the Orbit.

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Nakul said: “It’s kind of like a rollercoaster. I wish it was a rollercoaster.”

Raven said: “It’s amazing. I can see a bit of my school, and a bit of St Paul’s Cathedral.”

Erisa said: “I think it’s phenomenal. I’m glad the Orbit is here. It’s unique.”

Their teacher Richard Saunders said: “There was nothing on this site when these children were in reception class, and they really didn’t know much when they were five about the Games.

“It’s has been a tremendous experience for them to see everything. The Park is a massive resource on our doorstep.”

London Mayor Boris Johnson, who pitched the idea for a sculpture for the Park to Lakshmi Mittal, chairman and CEO of ArcelorMittal, in a cloakroom a number of years ago, was also at the event.

Mr Johnson said: “I think this is a great piece of public art. It’s there to serve as a pole of attraction.

“This is better than I envisioned.”