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London 2012 Olympic Cauldron...


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There you go- the "rice paddy look" is, in a sense, what you see in Sendall's design, (ignoring the detail that it's a continuous spiral) but it's absolutely not what can be seen in the Olympic Tor. In that design the "raked transitional steps" ARE THE CONCEPT, and routes are zig-zag, not spiral. The zig-zag is also clearly seen in Tolkien's illustration, and the ridge of the real Glastonbury Tor provides the same functionality. Those are two completely different design philosophies for a route up a hill !

And have you not considered the simple statistics- "The Hobbit" was a very well-known book when all the individuals involved were growing up (I still have my 1960s copy) and it is actually more likely that Sendall was influenced by Tolkien than that Boyle & Co. were influenced by Sendall and not by Tolkien.

I totally disagree. I think the rice paddy look comes through loud and clear in the finished set.

The steps are the concept. The zig-zag is a minor variant.

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Oh, imagine my surprise.

Country-Diary--Aerial-Vie-008.jpg

Should've gone to Specsavers?

Ok. Nice pic. I see the distant relationship to the ceremony set. What's the argument here?

This photo looks less like the OC set than the sketch does. I wouldn't call it typical of the English landscape either.

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Ok. Nice pic. I see the distant relationship to the ceremony set. What's the argument here?

This photo looks less like the OC set than the sketch does. I wouldn't call it typical of the English landscape either.

Given that the picture shows the actual Glastonbury Tor, then one can easily propose a scenario for the development of the OC feature which does not involve Mr Sendall at all.

First- Milton specifically describes Pandemonium as being built at the foot of a hill, with metal from ores mined from the hill. Therefore, an attempt to depict the Industrial Revolution as the building of Pandemonium needed a hill.

For safety reasons, a path or paths needed to be made down the hillside, so that it could be used by cast members.

For practical reasons, a zig-zag arrangement of paths was preferable to a spiral (which would have enforced single-file progress).

The resulting design looked quite like the arrangement of paths on Glastonbury Tor, so the hill gained a nickname- and subsequently also a couple of mosh pits in honour of the Glastonbury Festival.

HOWEVER, overall, the design of the "Green and Pleasant" set, from which "Pandemonium" sprang, also resembled Hobbiton, very probably because the OC team had shared memories of the book, which influenced their concept of pre-industrial rural scenery.

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I've been to Glastonbury Tor. My first thought when Danny Boyle unveiled the set was "That doesn't look like Glastonbury Tor to me, but if you say it represents it, ok. I'll play along."

I think the set looks more like Sendall's sketch than the real tor. This conversation is wearisome. I believe LOCOG has behaved unethically. You think they're pure as the newly driven JMarkSnow. Time to move on.

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And I think it's somewhere in between personally, where I'm inclined to agree with Mark on the Green and Pleasant set and Baron on the cauldron issue. I think you went in way too strong in calling them a disgrace and accusing Heatherwick of "lying" before we knew any real facts and before Atopia backtracked. It seems to me Atopia is probably more right in their second statement. This is more about the way ideas transmit themselves through large organisations than anything outright seedy or unethical. I'm still inclined to put the Tor design down to coincidence and think, from what I've read, that the cauldron narrative may have had some influence from Atopia. Fact is, none of us know, so it's hard to take a strong position or point too many fingers.

Edited by RobH
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Considering the cauldrons flawed design which didn’t conceal the guts of the mechanism, it’s diminutive size vs the scale of the event, the disgraceful way it was extinguished and trollied around unlit in broad daylight, and treated with such disrespect overall, one would hope at MINIMUM the design would be UNIQUE to the vision of the designer. That wasn’t the case. This cauldron had way to many problems for something that had years of planning and absolute unlimited potential.



DESIGN FAIL


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Considering the cauldrons flawed design which didn’t conceal the guts of the mechanism, it’s diminutive size vs the scale of the event, the disgraceful way it was extinguished and trollied around unlit in broad daylight, and treated with such disrespect overall, one would hope at MINIMUM the design would be UNIQUE to the vision of the designer. That wasn’t the case. This cauldron had way to many problems for something that had years of planning and absolute unlimited potential.

DESIGN FAIL

See. in my book, I'm calling it a cauldronette... ;) and it gets high marks for that. But it's not a real cauldron in the traditional sense.

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And I think it's somewhere in between personally, where I'm inclined to agree with Mark on the Green and Pleasant set and Baron on the cauldron issue. I think you went in way too strong in calling them a disgrace and accusing Heatherwick of "lying" before we knew any real facts and before Atopia backtracked. It seems to me Atopia is probably more right in their second statement. This is more about the way ideas transmit themselves through large organisations than anything outright seedy or unethical. I'm still inclined to put the Tor design down to coincidence and think, from what I've read, that the cauldron narrative may have had some influence from Atopia. Fact is, none of us know, so it's hard to take a strong position or point too many fingers.

Rob, it's fair to say that I don't know the facts because I don't. I am inclined to believe that there is willful deception going on at some level and it is very difficult to imagine how Danny Boyle and Thomas Heatherwick could be totally isolated from it. I could be wrong, but that is my belief. If I am correct, it is disgraceful. But you are right in that nothing has been proven. Nor, I suspect, will it ever be.

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There are complications to this story which we have not really considered properly. For example, the UK Government's buy-out to circumvent the IOC's ban on non-sponsor supplier publicity is a licence scheme, open only to those who actually supplied goods or services to London 2012. Atopia seem to have spent two years (from 2006 to early 2008) making blue-sky proposals, none of which turned into something that LOCOG could actually buy. Hence, the IOC gag would normally still apply to them, as it would to anybody hoping to cash in on the Olympics by publicising the fact that they had put in a proposal.

We know that, in their original bid, LOCOG planned to have young people bring objects from around the world to the Olympics, via the Friend Ship. Did Atopia have this in mind when planning their version of the One Planet Pavilion? Did LOCOG actively seek alternative "young people bring objects from around the world to the Olympics" schemes to replace the Friend Ship, and were either or both of Atopia and Boyle/Heatherwick invited to incorporate such a scheme in their proposals?

It is notable that the un-illustrated proposal document submitted by Atopia to LOCOG has not been released (although their earlier "White Paper" and "Greenfingers" documents have). Without seeing it, we cannot know what ideas really could have been put into LOCOG's heads by Atopia.

It is equally notable that what was released was internal Atopia documentation with illustrations of a design that could not actually have functioned in the way described by the accompanying text. Was this really their embryonic master-design for the One Planet Pavilion, or was it just one among many products of brainstorming?
And if LOCOG never saw illustrations of the design, and no accusation of plagiarism was intended, why was the released document accompanied by Jane Harrison's comment on the cauldron "It looked identical to something we had proposed to the London Olympic committee back in 2007"?

There has been, if not willful deception, at least a wilful misrepresentation of the true situation going on at some level within Atopia.



PS: "Cauldronette" is a nice word !

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Of course you're blaming Atopia!

I believe LOCOG privately threatened Atopia with legal action and forced them to change their tune. Atopia had already said they could not afford a legal battle.

You make it sound as though Atopia was cranking out garbage for two years. I don't know what they produced, but the fact that it went on TWO YEARS suggests a.) they devoted huge time and resources to LOCOG, which was a big investment for a small firm and b.) they received enough encouragement from LOCOG to continue doing so.

Just because one person at LOCOG claimed never to have seen the sketches doesn't make it true. It's a he said/she said. Of course LOCOG will deny it and there's no way to prove it either way. The denial is not proof and fails to remove any suspicion from LOCOG.

Why would Atopia bother to make this claim and release these images in the first place? That required time and expense on their part. Why would they do it if it was based on a fiction? Makes zero sense.

I do believe that LOCOG forced Atopia to change their tune. I have been on the other side of situations like this. There's no way to prove your case, but you know it's true. Even so, the JMarkSnow's of the world would rather tar and feather you. It sucks for Atopia and my heart goes out to them. They're getting beaten up by a much larger machine. They probably should never have brought this up publicly in the first place -- not because it isn't true, but because they don't have the resources for this fight.

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But you're happy to tar and feather LOCOG and call people within their team liars. Neither of you have anywhere near enough facts to back up your respective positions so maybe time for you both to back off a little bit.

I believe LOCOG privately threatened Atopia with legal action and forced them to change their tune

That's strange because, as DarJoLe has pointed out before, LOCOG doesn't exist anymore and hasn't done for months. It's possible after the press coverage that Heatherwick Studios had a word with them though, hence the sudden backtracking on the accusations of plagiarism against his studio. And they'd be totally within their rights to do that.

Edited by RobH
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But you're happy to tar and feather LOCOG and call people within their team liars. Neither of you have anywhere near enough facts to back up your respective positions so maybe time for you both to back off a bit.

That's strange because, as DarJoLe has pointed out before, LOCOG doesn't exist anymore and hasn't done for months. It's entirely possible after the press coverage that Heatherwick Studios had a word with them though, hence the sudden backtracking on the accusations of plagiarism against his studio.

Rob, I have been very clear that I don't have facts. I do have personal beliefs which I freely admit would never stand in a court of law. I also have firsthand experience with how creative RFPs work and I know there's a huge difference between what is publicly revealed and what actually transpired. I know what it's like to have a powerful prospective client behave unethically. I know what it's like to have your work stolen and not be able to prove it. Could I be projecting? Sure. But in my opinion there's WAY too much smoke here for there to be no fire.

I've never claimed to be representing facts and I've acknowledged I don't know the facts. I am reading between the lines with the benefit of informed personal experience and I'm offering opinions.

As for the legal side, LOCOG must retain some sort of legal representation for years after the Games in the event that someone comes after them. Despite the fact that LOCOG no longer functions as an operating entity, I am sure there is some minimal, skeletal framework in place to address situations like this one.

If LOCOG or representatives of LOCOG can have people make statements in their behalf, they can sure as heck hire attorneys to scare the bejeezus out if Atopia.

Believing otherwise is naive.

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You might be right, but you might be way off too. The second statement from Atopia backtracks heavily on accusing Heatherwick of anything untoward but still questions LOCOG's internal processes, so it seems more than possible that it's Heatherwick Studios, not LOCOG, who've leant on them. You're making a huge assumption that it was LOCOG when it could've been Heatherwick or, alternatively, it could even have been that they weren't happy with the way the press reported their concerns so simply wanted to clarify things. All three scenarios are perfectly possible, so my heart goes out to nobody, and I'm not going to take any sides.

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It is notable that the un-illustrated proposal document submitted by Atopia to LOCOG has not been released (although their earlier "White Paper" and "Greenfingers" documents have). Without seeing it, we cannot know what ideas really could have been put into LOCOG's heads by Atopia.

Just because one person at LOCOG claimed never to have seen the sketches doesn't make it true. It's a he said/she said.

Both the above points seem to be addressed by Atopia's Jane Harrison in a Guardian follow-up article:

"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." "

... and more explanation from Jane in World Architecture News:

http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com/index.php?fuseaction=wanappln.projectview&upload_id=23016

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You might be right, but you might be way off too. The second statement from Atopia backtracks heavily on accusing Heatherwick of anything untoward but still questions LOCOG's internal processes, so it seems more than possible that it's Heatherwick Studios, not LOCOG, who've leant on them. You're making a huge assumption that it was LOCOG when it could've been Heatherwick or, alternatively, it could even have been that they weren't happy with the way the press reported their concerns so simply wanted to clarify things. All three scenarios are perfectly possible, so my heart goes out to nobody, and I'm not going to take any sides.

You are right that the Heatherwick scenario is plausible. I don't buy that Atopia changed their tune of their own accord though. They released too much information initially for me to believe that. This is a company that felt wronged and wanted public acknowledgement and a sense of justice. They were clearly crying "foul". The softer subsequent statement definitely seemed to me to have been informed by intervening developments. Someone leaned on them.

For the eighteenth time, I'm not purporting to offer facts. I'm presenting opinions and, yes, they can be wrong.

Regardless, I believe someone connected to LOCOG knowingly stole from Atopia. And, yes, if that transpired it's disgraceful.

I also don't think Atopia will ever get acknowledgement or compensation and I don't believe anyone associated with the Games will be conclusively exposed or held accountable for unethical behavior.

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You are right that the Heatherwick scenario is plausible. I don't buy that Atopia changed their tune of their own accord though. They released too much information initially for me to believe that. This is a company that felt wronged and wanted public acknowledgement and a sense of justice. They were clearly crying "foul". The softer subsequent statement definitely seemed to me to have been informed by intervening developments. Someone leaned on them.

I didn't say "changed their tune of their own accord". I said maybe they wanted to clarify things because they were unhappy with the reporting.

"We have never accused Heatherwick of plagiarism. We have never claimed to be designers of the cauldron though much of the press continues to state this"

This second statement being a mere clarification doesn't seem improbable at all actually!

But if they were leaned on to clarify, perhaps that's no bad thing, because there are reputations at stake. If Heatherwick felt his own work was being undermined or called into question (by press misreporting of Atopia's position or by Atopia themselves), then asking the New York firm to clarify their position makes sense for all concerned.

The new statement raises questions which could be answered in any number of ways (from outright deliberate stealing from LOCOG right through to mere coincidence), but it does make certain other things clearer and outlines exactly what their grievance is. It's interesting also, don't you think, that they themselves claim their interested in "how ideas transmit through large organizations, often organically and unconsciously", so even they're not actually accusing LOCO of outright unethical behaviour. If you choose to 'read between the lines' that this must mean LOCOG's lawyers have been involved, then ok. But I don't see why there has to be as oblique an explanation as that.

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"We have never accused Heatherwick of plagiarism. We have never claimed to be designers of the cauldron though much of the press continues to state this"

That quote from Jane Harrison, Co-Director of Atopia, is just stating they have not formaly made the acusation or claims. It is very different than saying "We don't believe LOCOG plagerized our ideas, and we did not design the cauldron".

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I didn't say "changed their tune of their own accord". I said maybe they wanted to clarify things because they were unhappy with the reporting.

"We have never accused Heatherwick of plagiarism. We have never claimed to be designers of the cauldron though much of the press continues to state this"

This second statement being a mere clarification doesn't seem improbable at all actually!

But if they were leaned on to clarify, perhaps that's no bad thing, because there are reputations at stake. If Heatherwick felt his own work was being undermined or called into question (by press misreporting of Atopia's position or by Atopia themselves), then asking the New York firm to clarify their position makes sense for all concerned.

The new statement raises questions which could be answered in any number of ways (from outright deliberate stealing from LOCOG right through to mere coincidence), but it does make certain other things clearer and outlines exactly what their grievance is. It's interesting also, don't you think, that they themselves claim their interested in "how ideas transmit through large organizations, often organically and unconsciously", so even they're not actually accusing LOCO of outright unethical behaviour. If you choose to 'read between the lines' that this must mean LOCOG's lawyers have been involved, then ok. But I don't see why there has to be as oblique an explanation as that.

The truth is we'll never know, Rob. You're presenting a balanced, thoughtful scenario. It is probably better for all concerned if you are correct. I can't help feeling, however, that your view is probably optimistic.

That quote from Jane Harrison, Co-Director of Atopia, is just stating they have not formaly made the acusation or claims. It is very different than saying "We don't believe LOCOG plagerized our ideas, and we did not design the cauldron".

True.

Also, mere "interest" in how ideas are transmitted in large corporations does not seem sufficient motivation for Atopia's very public revelations of their work.

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Someone leaned on them.

That would've been their own legal counsel telling them how weak their case is. LOCOG is gone, in its "...sunset days..." as they say. It was NOT meant to last afterwards; and once all its assets have been disposed of (as per its original charting documents and objectives); then it is gone. And Atopia's attys (and Jane Harrison herself said so), granted that they may have a case, know full well, you won't bother to proceed if there is no monetary gain to do so.

And by the time a case may be docketed and heard in court (I don't know the backlog in the UK courts), LOCOG would all be but a memory. U can't go after an entity that INTENTIONALLY did you no harm and no longer exists.

Your field is design, I used to work in the legal field.

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I can't imagine that Atopia wouldn't have evaluated their legal options at length prior to making their public statement. It would be foolish not to. They had clearly been advised about their confidentiality agreement. There's no doubt they would've examined legal options once they felt their work had been stolen. For that reason I don't think it makes sense that their counsel would permit them to make the initial statement and then pressure them to say something significantly different.

Were you an intellectual property attorney? Were you a lawyer at all?

The issue here is precisely what was intended. It seems quite possible that LIVIG intended to steal an idea. As for LOCOG not existing, it doesn't exist in it's former manifestation, but are you certain that it is 100% disbanded and there is now zero accountability? What are you basing that on?

Weird auto correct. LIVIG should be LOCOG.

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As for LOCOG not existing, it doesn't exist in it's former manifestation, but are you certain that it is 100% disbanded and there is now zero accountability? What are you basing that on?

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Limited went into voluntary solvent liquidation in May.

http://www.moorestephens.co.uk/LOCOG-2012-publishes-its-final-report-and-accounts.aspx

There may well be some sort of insurance to cover long-term claims, but beyond that, anybody whose name isn't in the company's financial records as a creditor is unlikely to get a penny (and Jane Harrison has indicated that money is not what Atopia's after anyway).

There's no doubt they would've examined legal options once they felt their work had been stolen. For that reason I don't think it makes sense that their counsel would permit them to make the initial statement and then pressure them to say something significantly different.

Well said.

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I can't imagine that Atopia wouldn't have evaluated their legal options at length prior to making their public statement. It would be foolish not to. They had clearly been advised about their confidentiality agreement. There's no doubt they would've examined legal options once they felt their work had been stolen. For that reason I don't think it makes sense that their counsel would permit them to make the initial statement and then pressure them to say something significantly different.

Were you an intellectual property attorney? Were you a lawyer at all?

The issue here is precisely what was intended. It seems quite possible that LIVIG intended to steal an idea. As for LOCOG not exislating, it doesn't exist in it's former manifestation, but are you certain that it is 100% disbanded and there is now zero accountability? What are you basing that on?

Weird auto correct. LIVIG should be LOCOG.

The Guardian made a big story about it. Yeah, they stuck to the confidentiality clause but at the same time, as Jane Harrison said, they aren't out for any money...just recognition. LOCOG said yes there was a submission but it was purely text--no illustrations. (It is 12:30 pm my time; just had a long day travelling and setting up my place for my new cat...so this is all going to be abbreviated.)

I chose not to answer your ?s about my legal bkgd. I don't feel I owe you any answer in that regard.

You say your dad worked with the LAOOC, u might ask him about how the LAOOC handled intellectual property matters since you seem to have your own interpretation of IP law. And some of the issues here are just basic legal matters.

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LOCOG said yes there was a submission but it was purely text--no illustrations.

And, as noted earlier, Atopia's Jane Harrison said the same thing.

Incidentally, did anybody else spot the following two oddities about the Atopia Sketchbook:

1) No signs of revisions. It's either a presentation document made to look like a sketchbook, or at best a storyboard for a Powerpoint based on the text they submitted to LOCOG.

2) No sign of the Friend Ship, which wasn't officially cancelled until AFTER their pavilion proposal was submitted to LOCOG. That means they knew when they were preparing their submission that the Friend Ship would not sail, and similar concepts incorporated in a new project would more likely be welcomed than seen as interfering.

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