News Category: Contour News

London 2012’s Olympic Cauldron success

Two worldwide events happened in Great Britain in 2012 – The golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II and the XXX Olympiad London 2012.  Contour Autocraft were following the build-up via social media, TV & Radio, but without any real connection, until… Bruce took a phone call in December 2011 from Stage One Construction.  After that everything changed.

We didn’t know it at the time as Bruce had signed a NDA & was sworn to secrecy, but we needed to produce 627 copper petals in just over 4 months. Each petal took approx. 5 hours to create, not allowing for adjustments.

Making these petals was physically & mentally draining. The workshop was hot due to the time of year & the gas burners constantly annealing the copper. Everything was covered in a fine layer of copper. The noise was constant, Michelle wore ear defenders in the office.  Bruce camped onsite

A work pattern was emerging annealing, shaping, annealing, shaping, marking & trimming. Marking the petal against the wood and trimming the excess was a learning curve as no two petals were the same.

During all of this activity we were all trying to guess what the petals were for, maybe the Jubilee, but no, that came and went and we were still making them. We deduced they were for the Olympics, but what? A water feature for the Olympic park, natural shapes with a flow of water out of each of them? A sculpture perhaps – a lasting monument of 2012.

A delivery to the office confirmed they were indeed for the Olympics, but not what they were going to become. 204 shaped vinyl strips, one for each specific petal, showing a competing country’s name and XXX Olympiad London 2012.  It was beginning to sink in just how big the commission was, everyone visiting the Olympic Park might see our work.

The home straight was now insight. Stage One, who built the machine mechanism & commissioned us to make the petals, collected batches of petals and took them away.

On the 27th of July 2012, Bruce’s parting words were – “make sure you watch the ceremony tonight”.  I was going to anyway, so his words didn’t really register, until the moment the athletes walked into the stadium…

Stage 1

Foundation Course

Stage 2

Construction Course