It’s not everyday that one’s train is held up due to a swan on the line. But that was the reason given by the driver of the overground train I was stuck on for nearly twenty minutes at Canonbury earlier yesterday (only in Islington I guess). Eventually, the feathered creature moved out of the way and the train completed its journey to Stratford which was also my final stop. I was heading for the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as I had been invited to visit the iconic ArcelorMittal Orbit for the day.
During the London 2012 Olympic Games I have to admit that I was rather critical of the design of the ArcelorMittal Orbit (as my posts at the time reveal). Since then however, I have grown incredibly fond of The Orbit. It is now so synonymous with London 2012 that, being the old sentimental Londoner that I am, it always reminds me of that fabulous Summer of 2012 every time I see it. So, when I was invited along to scale The Orbit during half term (February 2015), I simply jumped at the chance.
My invitation wasn’t just to enjoy seeing some of London’s more famous landmarks from the top of The Orbit, but to also enjoy seeing some of London’s more famous landmarks from inside the top of The Orbit, made entirely out of LEGO. The Bricks in the Sky 2015 LEGO exhibition is being hosted at the top of The Orbit between 15th – 22nd February (2015) where the centrepiece of the exhibition is the original scaled model of the London 2012 Olympic Park by artist Warren Elsmore.
Warren Elsmore was commissioned in 2012 by Visit Denmark and the LEGO group to build the model as a showpiece for the Danish hospitality house based in London during the Games. It took over three hundred hours across five weeks, and a quarter of a million LEGO bricks to complete, and proved so popular with visitors it was later displayed in the Team GB headquarters during the Paralympic Games.
Warren Elsmore isn’t just hosting the exhibition all this week; he and his team are also working on a new commission: to build a two metre high scaled model of … well, what else but the ArcelorMittal Orbit.
The project however was not proving easy. At the size the team were intending to build the model to, the combined weight of the 100,000 bricks required to build it would be so great there were fears that the model would collapse under the weight. To avoid this the team reinforced the base of the model and some clever CAD programming helped the team devise the best approach to building the body of the model.
The team feels confident that they will be successful in building the model and that it will be completed by Wednesday (18th February). However, the model will only remain intact until the end of the week before being dismantled again. I asked why it wasn’t going to be a permanent feature at The Orbit or at least be exhibited a little longer than a week as I am sure it would prove popular with visitors. The reason for its short life is because the LEGO bricks are only on loan and have to be returned! I asked Warren Elsmore did he not receive any LEGO bricks for Christmas which he could have used for the model to make it more permanent. “I did!” he replied with glee. “But,” he whispered as he leant towards me, “I had to buy them myself”.
There are more permanent and completed models by Warren Elsmore on display at the exhibition celebrating the best of London …
… but not all of Elsmore’s models are associated with London:
With so many LEGO bricks around, no one could resist sitting down and having at go at building something themselves …
Even I couldn’t resist the allure of the bricks and so I attempted to build my own model of a London landmark before I left:
More on The Bricks in the Sky LEGO exhibition and forthcoming exhibitions at The Orbit can be found at the official ArcelorMittal Orbit website here.
Footage of Warren Elsmore and co. adding the finishing touches to that model of The Orbit and more about the man himself, his LEGO art and forthcoming exhibitions can be found on his official website here.
… and thank you to Mango PR for the invitation.
How the ArcelorMittal Orbit won me over … (click on the images for the story so far)