Thomas Heatherwick’s design of the Olympic Cauldron has been one of the most closely guarded secrets of the whole Ceremony.
When the competing delegations arrived in London, they each received a copper petal – inscribed with the name of their country and the words ‘XXX Olympiad London 2012’. They carried these petals during the Athletes’ Parade before laying them down.
The seven young Torchbearers move towards the centre of the field of play and ignite a single tiny flame within one of the copper petals on the ground, triggering the ignition of more than 200 petals. The Cauldron’s long, elegant stems gently rise towards each other and converge to form one great Flame of unity – a symbol of the peaceful coming together of nations that is the Olympic Games.
The Cauldron will be moved to take pride of place in the Olympic Stadium within the eyesight of competing athletes – echoes of its location at Wembley for the London 1948 Games.
At the end of the Games, each team will take their petal home and the London 2012 Cauldron will cease to exist. Like a flower that only blooms for the duration of the competition, it’s a temporary representation of the extraordinary transitory community that is the Olympic Games.
Page Tsou is an artist based in London, originally from Taiwan. He has completed an MA in Communication Art & Design at the Royal College of Art, London, 2009