The Olympic Cauldron

Here at EP we’ve found ourselves getting carried away with the London 2012 Olympics. It’s hardly surprising considering how successful it’s been. To have the Games on home soil was not only exciting, it’s inspired the whole country.

Everyone is in agreement that London 2012 was a major triumph.  A summer of spectacular sport watched by millions, a lorry-load of medals for British Olympians and Paralympians, a fantastic opening ceremony, an amazing Olympic Park, lots of people smiling, huge amounts of noise, entertainment and not too much rain. The successes of the athletes, organisation, architects, volunteers and many other people (including Dailey Thompson) proved Great Britain has a lot to be proud about.

But it’s not only the athletes that made the Games so special. Many things caught our eye and the one image that is still burning brightly is not an individual person or sport but the Olympic Cauldron that resided in the Olympic stadium. Thomas Heatherwick, hailed by British design guru Terence Conran as ‘the Leonardo da Vinci of our times’, was the man responsible for London 2012’s visual centre-piece.

Lit by seven young and aspiring athletes to echo London 2012’s ‘Inspire a Generation’ motto, the cauldron was one of the many visually stunning elements of the Games, but in our minds the best of the lot. 204 copper petals were lit by the aspiring athletes and rose up in beautiful mechanical harmony to create one giant flame.

“Ideas come as a solution to a problem. And it’s defining for yourself what that problem is that pushes you to something.”

– Thomas Heatherwick

Constructed in Harrogate, Yorkshire the cauldron is the latest in a growing portfolio of brilliant and inspiring projects by Heatherwick. His sculpture representing Britain at the Shanghai Expo was received to critical acclaim and more recently Heatherwick unveiled his reinvention of the iconic Routemaster bus in London. Heatherwick is helping confirm Britain’s place at the forefront of design and creativity. Heatherwick and his team have designed and delivered one of the most enduring moments of this historic British summer. It’s a shame it had to end, but keep an eye out for Heatherwick’s future projects.