On arriving in London, each of the 204 national teams competing in the 2012 Olympic Games received a special object, inscribed with the name of its country. Each slightly different from the other, these objects have sculpturally beautiful forms, made in polished copper.
During the opening ceremony, teams entered the Olympic stadium, a chosen team member bearing their country’s precious object. One by one, in a clearing at the centre of the growing crowd of athletes, these artefacts were laid out as offerings, forming a large-scale pattern on the ground that radiates like the petals of a flower.
After these copper components were illuminated by the London 2012 Olympic Torch, the first one began rising silently from the ground, carried upwards on a long fine stem, followed in circular waves by all the others. Over the next minute or so, the 204 separate flames converged to form one great flame of unity surging into the sky, making this a giant kinetic sculpture in the centre of the stadium that symbolises the coming together in peace of 204 nations for two weeks of sporting competition.
At the Closing Ceremony the Olympic cauldron opened out and divided once more into its constituent objects. It was the studio’s intention that the Cauldron would be a representation of the extraordinary, albeit transitory, togetherness that the Olympic Games symbolise.
On leaving London, each competing country took home its own inscribed copper object as a souvenir of their contribution to the world’s most iconic sporting event.
Designed at the Heatherwick studio.