As the debate rages over using taxpayers’ millions to underwrite Thomas Heatherwick’s Garden Bridge, London mayor Boris Johnson’s track record on producing landmark architecture from the public purse is coming under increasing scrutiny.
Figures uncovered by Labour London Assembly member Len Duvall reveal that Anish Kapoor’s ArcelorMittal Orbit sculpture in the Olympic Park lost £520,000 during 2014-15.
This compared to a forecast profit of almost £1.2 million in the project’s business plan, proving, says Duvall, that the Orbit was a ‘vanity project of towering proportions’.
Johnson can’t even claim that the losses were completely unexpected. In his introduction to the 2010 brochure announcing the project, he wrote: ‘Of course some people will say we are nuts – in the depths of a recession – to be building Britain’s biggest ever piece of public art.’