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Artist hails Olympic Orbit tower 'awkward'

The twisting red tower standing at 114.5 metres next to the Olympic Stadium is "awkward" and "beautiful," its designer said as it was unveiled today.

Turner Prize-winning artist Anish Kapoor, who created the ArcelorMittal Orbit with structural designer Cecil Balmond, also said the £10 entrance price for adults and £7 for children during the Games should come down after 2012.

A view across London towards Canary Wharf from new tower Credit: PA

He wants a "more democratic" price, saying those figures are "a hell of a lot of money".

Andrew Altman, chief executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation, which is in charge of securing the future of the Olympic Park, said a lower post-Games pricing system is being figured out.

Mr Kapoor said that he thinks it is beautiful but added: "I think it is awkward. It has its elbows sticking out. In a way it refuses any singular capture.

"It refuses to be an emblem.

"It is unsettling and I think that is part of this thing of beauty."

Visitors will be able to look down to the showpiece stadium from the latest landmark to London's skyline.

The twisting tangle of steel, which looks as if it is going to fall over, is not only the tallest sculpture in the UK but also 22 metres (72ft) taller than the Statue of Liberty.

The cutting-edge tower, dubbed "the Hubble Bubble" by London mayor Boris Johnson because of its resemblance to a shisha pipe, is intended to help make the Olympic Park in Stratford, east London, a must-see attraction long after the 2012 Games have ended.

London Mayor Boris Johnson looks out from the public viewing platform Credit: PA

It has two observation floors, a 455-step spiral staircase, lift and restaurant.

The idea is to go up in the lift and walk down the staircase and take in the views and artistic tricks designed in by Mr Kapoor.

He accepts that it may be controversial and not to everyone's liking.

He said: "I think controversy is OK - it is part of the deal really.

"We have tried to open territory for ourselves and hopefully in so doing a whole question about what this type of tower form can be.

"I am sure there are other possibilities but this is the one that we thought was right."

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