Olympic Torch Designers Show Their Work

barber light photo

Photo: B. Alter

The designers of the Olympic Torch for the London 2012 Olympics are Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby. They are a well respected and well-known duo who have been working in industrial design for the last 15 years.

They are having a small show of their work at a London gallery. The seven pieces are inspired by what they call "hidden design".

haug red photo

Photo: B. Alter

The chandeliers are made of hand-made Japanese paper that has been hand-stitched onto each segment. It is very strong but delicate and almost feels like sails from a boat flying in the sky.

The show is called Ascent and it presents seven new pieces of clean and contemporary work. The two designers were deeply influenced by their childhood interests. Osgerby grew up close to an airforce base and spent many hours watching the airplanes flying there.

tiller haug photo

Photo: B. Alter

Barber was fascinated with boat design because he sailed as a child. He acknowledged the beauty and simplicity of industrial design when he comments that "those things that have evolved or that have been engineered to move swiftly through air or water often have an intrinsic formal beauty."

rudder haug photo

Photo: B. Alter

Indeed, the work looks like boat pieces in its restrained and clean lines. One piece was made by a British boat builder. Since the pieces are all one-offs, the designers have been able to use skilled craftsmen, combining their work with computer-aided techniques. They call it "engineered craft". Other pieces include large discs made from perfectly polished brass that seem to be floating on the wall.

golden torch photo

Photo: london2012
The Olympic torch is 2 ft. 7 in. high, and made out of a lightweight aluminum alloy. It weighs 1.7 lb. so that young and old can carry it. The 8,000 holes (one for each of the torch bearers) make it light, allow people to see the flame, and also keep it cool. The gold colour is aesthetic as well as cooling for the flame.

The triangular design has been based on the number three: three Olympic values (respect, excellence and friendship), third Olympics for the UK (1908, 1948 and 2012), the vision for the Games (to combine work - sport, education and culture) and the three words of the Olympic motto (faster, higher, stronger).

More on Classic Industrial Design
London's 2012 Olympic Torch Isn't Green Enough
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