Artist Sir Anish Kapoor gives his blessing to a slide being wrapped around his Orbit sculpture as its launch day is revealed
Tickets are on sale for the Arcelor-Mittal Orbit slide at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as the owners look to turn around its fortunes.
The slippery addition to the 114.5m sculpture, the tallest in the UK, will open on Friday, June 24.
The slide has been designed by artist Carsten Holler who was invited to draw up the plan by Orbit creator Sir Anish Kapoor.
Sir Anish said: “What’s proposed is that you go in and you look at the Orbit first.
“There’s a dark room you enter, there are mirrors that make it look like you are inside a camera looking at the view, and then you get the slide and the experience of vertigo and falling.
“On one hand, when you look at it at a banal level it is purely an idiotic experience. But there are other possibilities and meanings, so it’s about that play between the two.
“It’s fine for people to look at it as just having fun. Of course I want more out of it but you bring to it what you can as an individual.”
The 178m-long construction will cost £3.5million and will be the world’s longest enclosed slide.
It was revealed that the Arcelor-Mittal Orbit made a loss of £500,000 in 2015/16 and cost £2million a year to run.
It is hoped that the number of annual visitors will be doubled from the current 120,000.
ArcelorMittal’s head of brand Ian Louden said: “During the Olympic Games the Orbit was a great success. Whenever you saw someone interviewed on TV, it was right there in the background.
“Then the park was closed down temporarily because many of the spaces were designed for the games but were inappropriate for reduced numbers of people.
“The slide is going to bring a lot more people to the area. It does need to make some more money.”
But despite the need to make more money with the attraction, Sir Anish believes that visiting the Orbit should be free.
He said: “It is good to have objects that are not economically driven, even though it costs money to go into that thing. I’m on record as saying that it ought to be free but it’s not my decision.”
Adult visitors will be able to enjoy the 40-second ride for £17, 43p per second, with child admission costing £12 or 30p a second.
Sir Anish Kapoor and Carsten Holler pose for photographers in front of the ArcelorMittal Orbit tower