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Beijing 2008 “Bird’s Nest” Co-Designer “Disgusted” Over Symbol

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Ai Weiwei, considered one of China’s foremost architects and co-designer of the Bird’s Nest National Stadium, said he feels “disgusted” that the $400 million stadium he helped design with Swiss architects Herzog and de Meuron has become a proud symbol of China’s development.

He told Reuters, “I’ve already forgotten about it. I turn down all the demands to have photographs with it. I’m not interested. I would feel ashamed if I just designed something for glamour or to show some kind of fake image”.

The designer’s personal experience includes being raised in a labour camp after his father, regarded as one of China’s finest modern poets, was purged in the 1950’s after being denounced as “an enemy of the state and a rightist”.

Ai said, “I spent five years with him at a labour camp where he cleaned toilets, but these stories become so catchy today. I have my own problems”.

Ai reportedly likened China’s embrace of the Olympics as “pretend smile”. He said it was “kind of fake smile which is disgusting…so I hate this”.

Ai said the 91,000-seat Bird’s Nest remained a beautiful, if regretful, commission. “I did it because I love design and the idea of how it would be looked at by others”.

Meanwhile Coca-Cola will be working with the official pin licensee in China to produce Coca-Cola branded Olympic pins from the same consignment of steel used in construction of the Bird’s Nest stadium.

Earlier this year Coca-Cola hosted a delegation from China including the team responsible for building the stadium. The Chinese team presented a gift of a section of steel weighing more than 500 kilos, which came from the same batch used in the construction of the stadium. The section of steel will remain on display at the Coca-Cola’s world headquarters in Atlanta as a lasting memento of the 2008 Games.

David Brooks, Vice President and General Manage of the Coca-Cola Olympics Project Group said, “by using leftover steel from the Bird’s Nest construction in the manufacture of Coca-Cola pins, we are bringing people closer to the Olympic Games experience, and supporting the pursuit of a “Green Olympics”. Write or read comments about this article

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