Construction has begun on a massive slide on London’s ArcelorMittal Orbit. The 178m-long slide will circle around the sculpture 12 times, making it the tallest and longest tunnel slide in the world. The descent will take around 40 seconds, with sliders reaching speeds of up to 15 mph.
The slide has been designed by Belgian artist Carsten Höller, whose playful art has appeared across the world and often features slides, animals and mushrooms.
The Orbit, in Queen Elizabeth Park, was erected for the 2012 Olympics. The tangled, 115m-high red sculpture by Turner Prize winner Anish Kapoor is Britain’s largest piece of public art. It has divided critics, with the Guardian describing it as a “a drunken party animal of a building”, but offers phenomenal views across East London from the platform at its summit.
Since the Olympics the Queen Elizabeth Park, which was formerly a mix of brownfield sites and parkland, has been developed as a visitor destination. It now features large areas of landscaped park, a pool and cycling facilities that are open to the public, and an adventure playground. Football team West Ham will play in the Olympic Stadium from next season onwards.
Peter Tudor, Director of Visitor Services at the park said: “What more exciting way to descend the ArcelorMittal Orbit than on the world’s longest and tallest tunnel slide. This slide really will give a different perspective of Britain’s tallest sculpture.” The slide is due to open in early summer, with tickets going on sale in the next few weeks.