London 2012 Cauldron by Heatherwick Studio

London 2012 Cauldron Design, MoL Exhibition, Designing a Moment, News

London 2012 Cauldron

MoL Gallery Exhibition, EC2, England, UK – design by Heatherwick Studio

8 Jul 2014

The Cauldron in London by Heatherwick Studio

Design: Heatherwick Studio

Heatherwick’s London 2012 Cauldron to go on display for first time since Games in purpose built Museum of London gallery

Designing a Moment: The London 2012 Cauldron Museum of London
Opens: Friday 25 July 2014

Address: Museum of London, 150 London Wall, EC2Y 5HN
Phone: 020 7001 9844

London 2012 Cauldron

London 2012 Cauldron
photo © Heatherwick Studio

The Cauldron, designed by the internationally renowned Heatherwick Studio, is one of the most enduring and creative symbols of the triumphant London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. 204 unique copper elements, each alight and representing every competing nation, were arranged in sublime concentric formation at the tips of slender mechanised steel stems. Slowly pivoting sequentially, they converged to form the Cauldron, in which the Olympic, and later Paralympic flame, would burn brightly for the duration of London’s summer of sport.

London 2012 Cauldron
photo © Edmund Sumner

Designing a Moment: The London 2012 Cauldron, a new gallery at the Museum of London, tells the story of this moment, and celebrates the London 2012 Cauldron.

In the courtyard of the museum, a bespoke new pavilion to house the exhibition has been specially designed and built by Stage One – the creative engineers behind the London 2012 Cauldron. The permanent addition is the first new gallery in the museum since 2010, coinciding with the two year anniversary of the Olympic opening ceremony, when an audience of over one billion people first set eyes on the Cauldron.

The stars of the show are two huge sections of the Cauldron – including the original steel stems and test versions of the copper elements. Combined they are some of the largest objects the museum has ever acquired. One section presents the Cauldron in an upright position, as it was for the majority of both Games. The other is the Cauldron in an open formation, as if frozen at that climactic defining moment of the opening Olympic ceremony.

Georgina Young, senior curator of contemporary history at the Museum of London, said: “It is a fitting moment to re-live the collective sense of wonder felt in London and across the globe when the Cauldron was revealed. To be seen in public at the Museum of London, for the first time since the Games, the Cauldron regains the magic of that
extraordinary summer.”

Olympic Torch Petal:
Olympic Torch Petal
photo © Geoff Caddick PA Wire

Described as “one of the best kept secrets of the opening ceremony”, the gallery immerses visitors in the design and making process of the Cauldron.

Exclusive filmed interviews with Thomas Heatherwick, the artistic directors of the Paralympic opening ceremony, creative engineers from Stage One, and metalworking experts from Contour Autocraft, provide remarkable insight into the rigorous design process, preparation, rehearsal and testing of the Cauldron.

Behind-the-scenes films, footage of the ceremonies and technical drawings add greater context, alongside objects from the production stage – including a selection of the wooden forming blocks on which each copper element was individually crafted.

London 2012 Cauldron
photo © Jasper White

Thomas Heatherwick said: “It’s a huge honour for Heatherwick Studio that the Museum of
London have decided to collect and archive the original mechanism of the Cauldron and that
a new gallery has been built specifically to exhibit and share it with Londoners and the world.
The Cauldron design was kept secret until it was revealed at the opening ceremony, which
created an engaging and engrossing experience for many. It’s exciting to reveal the
engineering feats that were necessary to make such an extraordinary project happen. The
exhibition will give the public the chance to revisit a moment at the heart of London’s most
successful sporting event.”

London 2012 Cauldron
photo © Matt Howell Photography

Jim Tinsley, technical director at Stage One, said: “Heatherwick Studio’s Cauldron was
not just one of the most unusual and complex devices we have ever built – it was also the
one that gave us the most pleasure to solve. The whole thing was extraordinary: the chance
to work with a creative yet highly precise and logical mind like Thomas’s, on a global holdyour-
breath moment that worked so, so beautifully. We might have been tearing our hair out
at times, but what a joy, what a privilege.”

London 2012 Cauldron
photo © Matt Howell Photography

London 2012 Cauldron
photo © Matt Howell Photography

After the end of the Games, the original copper elements from the Olympic and Paralympic
Cauldrons were distributed across the globe to all of the competing nations. The gallery
includes a large display of photographs with National Committee representatives, proudly
posing with their respective scorched and tarnished petals. The images not only capture
fond memories of the London 2012 Games, but also offer a glimpse into each country’s
Olympic and Paralympic spirit.

The Olympic and Paralympic Cauldron display is supported by the Department of Culture,
Media and Sport. The museum has also launched a fundraising campaign to raise an
additional £200,000 to complete this project. To make a donation visit:

London 2012 Cauldron
photo © Matt Howell Photography

London 2012 Cauldron
photo © Matt Howell Photography

To complement the new gallery, there will also be a temporary exhibition of drawings by
Nicholas Garland, the artist in residence at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic
Games. Drawing the Games: London 2012 and Nicholas Garland opens on Friday 25
July until Sunday 28 September.

About the Museum of London

The Museum of London tells the ever-changing story of this great world city and its people, from 450,000 BC to the present day. Our galleries, exhibitions, displays and activities seek to inspire a passion for London and provide a sense of the vibrancy that makes the city such a unique place.

Museum of London building
MOL image © Adrian Welch

The museums are open daily 10am – 6pm and are FREE to all, and you can explore the Museum of London with collections online – home to 80,000 objects with more being added.

Address: 150 London Wall, London EC2Y 5HN

Phone: 020 7001 9844

London Olympics 2012 Cauldron – film from the opening

About the Heatherwick Studio

– Heatherwick Studio was founded by Thomas Heatherwick in 1994. A team of over 140 architects, designers and makers work from a combined studio and workshop in Kings Cross, London.

– The studio’s current work includes two large scale developments in Shanghai; a university building in Singapore; a new distillery in the south of England; a museum of contemporary African art in Cape Town and a 200-passenger boat for a river estuary in France.

– The work of Heatherwick Studio has been the subject of a major retrospective exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. In May 2012, ‘Thomas Heatherwick: Making’ was published, a monograph that presents an extensive survey of the studio’s output to date.

– In 2004 Thomas Heatherwick was the youngest practitioner to be appointed a Royal Designer for Industry, in 2010 he was awarded the London Design Medal in recognition of his outstanding contribution to design and in 2013, he was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to the design industry. Heatherwick Studio’s projects have won multiple RIBA awards, Civic Trust awards and a Gold Award for pavilion Design for the Shanghai World Expo in 2010.

– Thomas Heatherwick has been awarded Honorary Doctorates from the Royal College of Art, University of Dundee, University of Brighton, Sheffield Hallam University and University of Manchester. In 2013 he was elected a Royal Academician by the Royal Academy of Arts, London.

– For further information about Heatherwick Studio please visit

About Stage One

Stage One work within the architecture, design and events industries. Their unique strength is their ingenuity – finding ways to bring their clients’ ideas to life, no matter how extraordinary. Based in Yorkshire, their work in creative construction and manufacturing has been seen across the globe, even winning them a 2013 Queen’s Award for 10 years’ Continuous Innovation. Their collaborative approach has contributed a diversity of projects to their unconventional portfolio, including manufacturing complex façade panels for Zaha Hadid’s Chanel pavilion; constructing the Serpentine Gallery summer pavilions since 2009; developing theatrical flying systems for global Opening Ceremonies and, of course, building Thomas Heatherwick’s iconic Olympic Cauldron.

London 2012 Cauldron images / information received 090714

Heatherwick Studio

Location: Museum of London, 150 London Wall, EC2Y 5HN, England, UK

Architecture in London

Contemporary Architecture in London

London Architecture Links – chronological list

London Architecture

London Architecture Walking Tours

London Architect

The Cauldron London

Buildings in the Kensington & Chelsea area

Victoria & Albert Museum
Victoria & Albert Museum
photo © Nick Weall

London Science Museum

Darwin Centre

Natural History Museum

Rio Olympics 2016 Olympic cauldron – photos from Olympics Opening ceremony

Key London Design by Heatherwick Studio

Rolling Bridge

Comments / photos for the London 2012 CauldronMoL Gallery Exhibition page welcome