One of the “best-kept secrets” of the opening ceremony was the Thomas Heatherwick-designed 2012 Olympic cauldron that dazzled viewers world-wide last night as it was ignited by seven young British athletes in a very unique lighting ceremony.
Representing each nation competing in the London Olympics, 204 “very small humble” copper petals were carried out alongside national flags and competitors – each inscribed with the name of the country and the words “XX Olympiad London 2012”. The petals were then attached to long, stainless steel stems that formed ten rings that appeared as an open flower. Once ignited, the flames quickly spread to each petal and then gently rose up to unite as a single flame.
Continue after the break for more on the design.
During the Games, the cauldron will relocate to a raised platform at one end of the stadium. After day 17, the cauldron will be dismantled and each nation will take home their petal.
“It’s a temporary representation of the extraordinary transitory community that is the Olympic Games,” said an Olympics spokesperson.
Measuring at 8.5-meters-tall, the entire sculpture weighs in at about 16 tons, as compared to the 300 ton Beijing Olympics cauldron.
A display about the Olympic cauldron will be added to Heatherwick Studio’s ongoing exhibition Designing the Extraordinary at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London today (Saturday).