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London 2012 Olympic Cauldron...


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Latter thought on London's. I think when Heatherwick conceived it and the IOC, LOCOG and Ceremonies signed off on it, the die was cast. It had to be a stadium-floor piece and non-T&F spectators just had to resign themselves to NO cauldron foto opp. The cauldron & lighting would NOT have played out its full visual impact if it had been placed on the roof of the stadium or outside. As I made allusion to earlier, it was like a birthday cake w/ moving candles...so it had to be in the center of the room; and it wouldn't have looked great on the roof or at some higher plane.

To me, that felt like putting the cart before the horse. The concept behind the sculpture trumped everything else.

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@Athensfan: "The concept behind the sculpture trumped everything else."

Make that plural concepts:

The many national petals ascending from the ground to become one "flower" cauldron (plus a bonus half-concept of giving the petals to the nations afterwards as souvenirs, but that didn't further affect the design or siting).

The cauldron lighting to feel like a genuinely sacred moment, most intimate for the athletes at the OC (the OC siting incidentally, but perhaps not coincidentally, reflected the placing of the altar in the centre of the circular Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral).

The long-term site of the cauldron to be among the spectators as in 1948 (one of many references back to the previous London Games as part of the "generations" theme).

The fuel usage, gas emissions and general "conspicuous consumption" of the cauldron to be reduced.

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To me, that felt like putting the cart before the horse. The concept behind the sculpture trumped everything else.

It would seem so. Plus, they really wanted to avoid another giant-burning-thingie-in-the-sky thing. And I had no problem with that. My only problem with the whole 2012 Cauldron-Lighting affair was changing the outfits of the 7 kids to a dark green; then put everyone (the older British medallists) in the shadows and the whole semi-darkness lighting of the moment. It just seemed all so incognito. You needed to see some faces ,both new and old, who were comprising this historic and highly dramatic moment. They were always better lit in previous Ceremonies. And then if they wanted it darker, turn down the lighting in the moment just before kindling the flame to the fire-eating flower. Th final moments just looked so murky.

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The focus was then on the youth surely, and the whole message that they were the future

No one is disputing that, Davey. Would it have hurt to show a little clarity to the faces of EVEN the kids--OK, never mind the old foggies, their time has passed-- because they are now the "New Generation"? No; they use all this half-shadow, mood lighting and, frankly I don't remember what they looked like. That's my point -- misguided lighting for such an important moment in the Ceremony. (Unless they were ugly kids, so OK, I then accept the choice.) ;)

Edited by baron-pierreIV
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The fact they wern't announcng their names I found really annoying. They sort that on the DVD but I didnt understand why they wernt named as they were passed the torch. Regards the lighting though I loved how the light followed them around the stadium creating a full circle in their wake maybe the darkness was to highlight this.

Actually can anyone help me out.

During the pandemonium section when the foundry bit was on that flowed to illuminate the ring that was over the cauldron (which was very clever). The shape the flowing metal made linked to the ring. Kinda like a sperm ish. Was that shape done to mirror the fireworks later cause they looked very similar. With the stadium roof being the ring and the line of fireworks down the river being the sperm tail. Does this make sense?

Was it on purpose or coincidence?

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trying again...

Intimate…yes.
Soft…yes.

Quite…yes.

Meaningful…yes.

Powerful…no.

Spectacular…no.

Awe inspiring…no.

Triumphant…no.

Big…no.

Friendly…a little.

Games focal point…no.

Anticlimactic…yes.


May as well have lit a bunch of candles in the center, that’s about the same mood/effect I got from the small-ish cauldron. But then you have to deal with all that wax dripping and running into a large pool around the 205 candles. Maybe you could take all the pooled wax, break it into 60,000 pieces and use each to seal a thank you note to be given to each audience member upon departing. Or maybe ONLY the youth get the notes (maybe ONLY British youth!), and in the note you can explain more about what it all means, or maybe just include a phone number and link to MarkSnow2012 for clarification.

wax-seals.jpg

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@daveypodmore: "The fact they wern't announcng their names I found really annoying. They sort that on the DVD but I didnt understand why they wernt named as they were passed the torch."

The stadium announcers did give the names (with sport details in French and English) but there was a small hiccup. They failed to spot the handover between the first two runners, so from then on, not only were all the name announcements out of sync, they were not going to have time to make them all by the time the lap was completed! If you study the handover and hug with the veteran Olympians, you can detect that the stadium announcements are a bit awkward.

By the way Davey, I think you've got it spot on about the low lighting being intended to highlight the glow effect on the track as the youngsters passed (again, I'm reminded of the interior of Liverpool Metropolitan cathedral- paul's suggestion about candles for the cauldron is thus likely to be very appropriate indeed).


also @daveypodmore: "The shape the flowing metal made linked to the ring. Kinda like a sperm ish. Was that shape done to mirror the fireworks later cause they looked very similar."

My guess is that it started as a happenstance (the fireworks were presumably concentrated along the River Lea for safety reasons) then they decided to have fun with it!

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  • 4 months later...
Olympic cauldron designs were 'stolen', claims US design firm An American design firm has alleged that Thomas Heatherwick's flaming Olympic cauldron is a copy of their design.

By Radhika Sanghani

9:03AM BST 20 Jun 2013

A New York studio has claimed the Olympic cauldron with its dandelion petals was based on its design.

Atopia said it showed its design to the London Olympic committee in 2007, after Locog approached it to come up with ideas for a sustainable structure.

The company, whose motto is "anticipate the future", said it had heard nothing back from the committee and was shocked to see Thomas Heatherwick’s cauldron last July.

Jane Harrison, the practice's co director, told The Guardian: “We were absolutely furious. It was a crushing disappointment.

“We were led to believe it was a confidential presentation to the high-level board, so it was even more shocking to see the ideas had been taken forward by others without us. We are a small office, so we can't afford to launch legal action."

The design studio’s pitch was a structure of petals on tall stems which would travel from all of the participating countries to then be assembled into a flower-like canopy.

Their structure was designed to collect rainwater and generate power from solar cells rather than burning a constant supply of natural gas like Mr Heatherwick’s design, but the two are aesthetically similar.

Both structures used the narrative sequence of the 205 nations coming together, with the metal parts being returned to the competing countries after the Olympics.

Atopia is only now free to make its claims since a restrictive confidentially agreement was lifted in January.

The 2007 restrictive non-disclosure agreement prevented all companies from promoting any work related to the Olympics but was lifted after campaigning and a government payment of £2m to the British Olympic Association.

Locog’s former design principle Kevin Owens said strands of Atopia’s work may have become part of the eventual product purely by staying in the minds of committee members.

Mr Heatherwick denied the claims and said: "The ludicrous accusation that LOCOG briefed us to work with, develop or implement a pre-existing idea and that we acted in accordance with this briefing is completely and entirely untrue.

"Before this week, I – and the entire team I was working with – knew absolutely nothing about this proposal, or the ideas it is claimed it contained.

"Danny and I evolved the idea for the cauldron over many months, in iterative rounds of discussions and I am appalled at the suggestion that either of us would let ourselves be influenced by any previous work. We were most definitely not steered by LOCOG towards this or any other idea. Any suggestion to the contrary is an affront to our creative integrity.”

Danny Boyle added: "As Artistic Director of the London 2012 Olympic Ceremony, I asked Thomas Heatherwick to take on the design of the Olympic Cauldron because of the integrity and originality of his ideas.

"I also absolutely and categorically reject any suggestion, whatever its motive, that Thomas or I were influenced by anything other than our obligation to create a ceremonial work of art that celebrated British originality, creativity and engineering.

"This is total nonsense and must not be allowed to spoil our appreciation of Thomas's magnificent work."

London 2012's former Head of Ceremonies said: “Neither these nor any other images or presentations played any part in the briefing I gave to Danny Boyle and Thomas Heatherwick at the beginning of the process to create the Olympic and Paralympic Cauldron. The design for the cauldron came about solely from the creative conversations between Danny, Thomas and myself.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/10131510/Olympic-cauldron-designs-were-copied.html



Designers of London Olympic cauldron deny copying claims

New York practice Atopia claims cauldron design is strikingly similar to an idea it presented to Locog board in early 2008

Thomas-Heatherwicks-Olymp-010.jpg

The designers of the London Olympic cauldron have made strident denials of the suggestion that their scheme was inspired by an earlier project by a different practice.

"It's absolute rubbish, complete and utter spurious nonsense," saidThomas Heatherwick, responding to the claim that designs by New York practice Atopia for a pavilion, commissioned by Locog in 2007-8, bore striking similarities.

"To design the cauldron was an opportunity of a lifetime. Someone like me would never fritter away that chance by not using it for my passion – which is to develop new ideas. The idea that your commissioner tells you what to do would have the immediate opposite effect."

He said the brief given by Locog was to "design a cauldron that would sit on the roof of the Olympic stadium and have no moving parts." Instead, his studio came up with a design assembled from a series of copper petals, fixed to long stems to form a flower-like structure on the floor of the arena.

But it is claimed both the narrative sequence and sculptural form is like Atopia's idea for a One Planet Pavilion, presented to the Locog board in early 2008. Heatherwick remains adamant that the cauldron design is his alone, citing a project he did as a student in 1993 for a series of awards that came together to form one circular chalice.

"If there's any possible precedent, it's in my own work. It's wonderful that the success of the cauldron has captured people's imagination … But it sounds like it's captured some people's imagination a bit too much."

Danny Boyle, artistic director of the opening ceremony, said: "Before Tuesday, neither of us had seen, heard of or knew about the existence of the illustrations. Thomas and I evolved the idea for the cauldron over many months of discussions. I categorically deny that Locog briefed us to work with, develop or implement any pre-existing idea that had been presented to them. This is total nonsense and must not be allowed to spoil our appreciation of Thomas's magnificent work."

Martin Green, former head of ceremonies at Locog, who briefed Boyle and Heatherwick, also denied any knowledge of Atopia's work. "I'd never even heard of them," he said. "Locog was an organization of 7,000 people, and we were in a completely separate department. I can categorically say that we did not and never would have used somebody else's work to influence the design of the cauldron. The idea came out of discussions between Danny Boyle, Thomas Heatherwick and myself. It was a completely natural and organic process."

But Atopia maintains that the cauldron is similar to its own earlier design. "This is outrageous," said practice co-director Jane Harrison. "Everyone in the design industry knows how easily ideas can be shared in these big organisations. The problem goes far beyond this case alone."

Recounting Atopia's involvement, Harrison claimed the agency's pitch to Locog took the form of a script, detailing exactly how the "umbrella" elements would come together to form a canopy in the stadium and be distributed back to the competing countries after the Games. She said the text was identical to the captions that appear on their sketchbook document, published by the Guardian.

"It's a very visual piece of material," said Harrison. "We held our sketches back because we wanted to safeguard our intellectual property. But that obviously didn't help."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2013/jun/20/london-olympic-cauldron-copying-claims
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Mr Heatherwick denied the claims and said: "The ludicrous accusation that LOCOG briefed us to work with, develop or implement a pre-existing idea and that we acted in accordance with this briefing is completely and entirely untrue.

"Before this week, I – and the entire team I was working with – knew absolutely nothing about this proposal, or the ideas it is claimed it contained.

"Danny and I evolved the idea for the cauldron over many months, in iterative rounds of discussions and I am appalled at the suggestion that either of us would let ourselves be influenced by any previous work. We were most definitely not steered by LOCOG towards this or any other idea. Any suggestion to the contrary is an affront to our creative integrity.”

Danny Boyle added: "As Artistic Director of the London 2012 Olympic Ceremony, I asked Thomas Heatherwick to take on the design of the Olympic Cauldron because of the integrity and originality of his ideas.

"I also absolutely and categorically reject any suggestion, whatever its motive, that Thomas or I were influenced by anything other than our obligation to create a ceremonial work of art that celebrated British originality, creativity and engineering.

"This is total nonsense and must not be allowed to spoil our appreciation of Thomas's magnificent work."

London 2012's former Head of Ceremonies said: “Neither these nor any other images or presentations played any part in the briefing I gave to Danny Boyle and Thomas Heatherwick at the beginning of the process to create the Olympic and Paralympic Cauldron. The design for the cauldron came about solely from the creative conversations between Danny, Thomas and myself.”

"They doth protest too much, methinks." <_<

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I'm sorry, but both this cauldron story and the recent news about the Green and Pleasant set look very bad. In both cases the similarities are extremely strong. In both cases it has been proven that LOCOG has access to the ideas well before making the final creative decisions. There is way too much smoke here for there to be no fire.

I believe Danny Boyle, Thomas Heatherwick and LOCOG are lying. What an ugly, ugly blot on London's legacy.

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I have been accused on this very site of copying a logo. Putting the logo I designed against the one I was accused of copying, they did look remarkably similar. The idea I used was an obvious one but I had never seen the other logo.

I know how easy its done and how awful it feels to be accused of something you haven't done on a very public platform.

Thomas Heatherwick is an incredible designer, if he says he never saw that design, thats good enough for me.



OOOh and thanks Athensfan for the nice signature comment, I only just read that : )

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