Stage One

Year 2012

London 2012 Olympic Cauldron Petals

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2012 Ceremonies Ltd
London, UK

The cauldron petals were the perfect synthesis of the artistic and the technical. Manufactured from 3mm copper sheet, each one of the 204 hand-made copper petals was a different size and shape, but all had to come together as the cauldron stems rose, fitting together like jigsaw pieces to form the tight cauldron bowl.

Wooden formers were made on our 5 Axis CNC facilities and used to create the negative shape of each petal. It took eight hours to handwrought the copper sheet into the 1mm thick delicate shape required for each one. Using a carefully calculated distorted font, the name of a participating nation was etched around the 30mm rim of each petal.

The petals also had to be easy to fit to the stems, an operation carried out in the dark, noise and relatively cramped conditions under the stage during the Ceremony itself. A bayonet light bulb-type connection gave both a visual and tactile clue to confirm a correct fit. A total of three complete sets of petals were made, each undergoing the same highly specialised processes.


Thomas Heatherwick

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