Tell us about the early design brief
To develop the ArcelorMittal Orbit from sculptural form to habitable structure and visitor attraction
What inspired your design concept?
Working with two of the most inspiring people in their fields – art and engineering
How did it feel to be involved in such a large and important British project?
An honour. It was exciting working with a big team where everything came together for the critical moment.
What challenges did you face along the way?
Taking a concept sketched as a single flowing line and translating it into a very large three-dimensional form which human beings could safely inhabit, whilst retaining as far as possible the vision of the artists and helping generate an immensely powerful sculpture.
What about specific design challenges?
The practice needed to create a solution for public access that worked both with the sinuous design and with Arup’s refined engineering. Throughout the design process, the firm had to resolve key issues such as: comfort for visitors, access and maintenance, weathering, and the construction sequence.
Safety and delivery within a limited time frame were the key challenges for the project, but the level of cooperation between the stakeholders was very good and challenges were easily overcome.