Is money a factor that can influence ‘good taste’ in architecture/interior design?

The ArcelorMittal Orbit (see figure 1) was created in the legacy of London’s hosting of the 2012 Olympic Games and cost an incredible 22.7 million pounds to build. It was designed by the well established architects Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond (Anon 1, 2012).

ArcelorMittal Orbit

Figure 1 (Anon 5, no date)

See video 1 for an idea of the Orbit’s exterior and interior design:  

Video 1 (Anon 6, 2014)

The Orbit is a complex design and is meant to represent the incredibly physical and emotional effort Olympians undertake in the games. It represents the Games in a creative sense. (Anon 2, no date)

The Orbit is a design which has received a significant amount of controversial feedback considering it’s hefty price tag. This suggests that the 22.7 million spent on the design cannot buy your taste approval. For example, It has been negatively described by Boland- Rudder (2012) as the “Godzilla of public art”, “a supersized mutant trombone” and a “rollercoaster caught up in a spaghetti junction” which emphasizes the fact that this design isn’t good taste and is unattractive. Boland- Rudder (2012) isn’t persuaded by the millions of pounds spent on the design within the article.

The designers of the Orbit Kapoor and Balmond apparently have grown tired of the question, what is it? and many people saying: whats the point of it? (Anon 3, 2011) Which moves me on to my next point – is good taste making the point of the design clear and not ambiguous to the reader? Duvall (2012) suggests that your design should provide a simple way for your audience to make sense of the content. This suggests that a simple design can cause less confusion and give the audience a clear understanding of the design. This leaves less room for negative misconception of a design. As shown in Kapoor and Balmond’s complex design (see figure 1) simplicity wasn’t their goal.

Alternatively the Orbit is seen as an impressive design to some tastes: “it is the perfect attraction to get an exclusive insight into the iconic sporting structure and its nail-biting history” (Anon 4, no date). This suggests that the design is good taste. The Orbits look and feel is striking, creative and bold and very Kapoor and Balmond’s style. The complex design of the Orbit makes you think and Kapoor is described as an artistic genius. It is a design which lets the viewers imagination decide what the design is and its meaning (Leadbeater, 2014).

There may always be the question: does the cost of the design change your opinion positively or negatively?

This creative flare has created a divided opinion and contributed to a positive and negative amount of press. It is described as the worlds tallest sculpture (376ft), but does price and height make a difference to people liking this specific design taste? (Anon 4, no date)

It appears that design will always appeal to some tastes but not so much to others. This type of taste is a personal preference and there appears to be no right or wrong answer (Moore, p18 2012).


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