The Olympic Cauldron has won the Visual Arts prize at this year’s South Bank Sky Arts Awards ceremony hosted by Melvyn Bragg in London. What was certainly the centrepiece of last year’s Olympic Games, the Cauldron warded off stiff competition from the Olympic Velodrome.
The Olympic Cauldron was designed by the English designer Thomas Heatherwick, who is known for his inventive use of materials and engineering in public sculptures and monuments. The Cauldron was a ‘magnum opus’ of surprise theatre, and nothing of the like had been seen at any previous Olympic Games.
Each of the 204 nations delegated a team member to receive and look after a beautiful copper petal, which was laid out in a designated spot at the opening ceremony. These petals were then lifted skywards by a thin and almost invisible wire. One by one the petals took position besides the Olympic torch making one huge beautiful flaming flower.
At the closing ceremony the opposite occurred, and all the polished copper petals were returned to the nations to take back to their homeland with their names inscribed upon them, symbolising the great togetherness that is the Olympic spirit.
This was an absolute masterstroke by Heatherwick, and no one could deny that the designer earned the prestigious Visual Arts award.