ArcelorMittal Orbit / Anish Kapoor & Cecil Balmond

Courtesy of ArcelorMittal

Authors: Anish Kapoor & Cecil Balmond
Location: Olympics B+B, Omega Works, 4 Roach Rd, , Greater E3 2LX, UK
Project Year: 2012
Project Area: 114.5 sqm
Photographs: Gautier Deblonde, Courtesy of ArcelorMittal

The ArcelorMittal Orbit is the first public artwork by Anish Kapoor to be lit. Arup’s lighting team has worked closely with Kapoor and to create a lighting scheme that will highlight the sculpture’s complex geometric form.

© Gautier Deblonde

The feature lighting scheme encourages visitors into the Park and the ArcelorMittal Orbit by creating a “must see” element to the sculpture at night. The scheme will play an integral part in the lighting and atmosphere of the Olympic Games with the sculpture lit up in a variety of modes for different events and times of day. Beyond The Games, visitors will also experience the metaphor of an orbit after dark; using light to unravel the sculpture’s convoluted form and to grasp its dynamic shape. Arup Lighting Director Florence Lam refers to their approach as using “dark light”.

Courtesy of ArcelorMittal

Sustainability has been a critical factor in Arup’s thinking. Arup Lighting’s choice of saturated red LED (light emitting diode) lighting accentuates the bespoke red specified by Kapoor for the sculpture.  The lighting scheme achieves maximum theatrical visual impact yet consumes less energy than white light. LEDs emit zero UV light, which would otherwise disturb wild-life in the vicinity, for example, moths and bats.

© Gautier Deblonde

Arup’s lighting designers, structural engineers and the architects collaborated closely to ensure that the light projectors are all discreetly located within the structure and carefully focused and aimed to minimise light spill onto the ecologically sensitive area of the river corridor and limit sky glow.

Courtesy of ArcelorMittal

Sophisticated lighting software, RADIANCE, was employed to analyse and predict the lighting distribution over the sculpture and its surroundings to ensure full compliance with the ODA lighting strategy.

Courtesy of ArcelorMittal

Arup’s Electrical and Mechanical Engineers worked with the firm’s lighting designers to integrate all services in a way that has ensured that all cables and wirings are invisible.

Courtesy of ArcelorMittal

The result is a cohesive, energy efficient and aesthetically attuned lighting project demonstrating how artists and engineers can collaborate creatively and effectively on major, and challenging artworks in public spaces.


View this project in Google Maps

* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "ArcelorMittal Orbit / Anish Kapoor & Cecil Balmond" 30 Jul 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 29 May 2015. <>
  • baratapas


  • syarifa hasan


  • Mario Matamoros

    HORRENDOUS… and creepy of course.

  • Michael

    Simply an overdone commission by a Steel Magnate who cares about his company’s name being the focus for the public experience at the games

  • tromba

    it’s awful!!!

  • bLogHouse

    as previously said by someone: ” a roller coaster raping a crane”.. or vice versa.

  • Biljana Hristomanova


  • Horrse

    Disgusting. Purely trying to create a name for ‘architecture’

  • Zhiguo Chen

    it was an aweful “design”, if i still have to call it a design, by an artist and structure engineer; both of them i do like very much. why didn’t they hire an architect?!