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Officially revealed in a ceremony earlier this month, the 2010 Olympic Torch is the result of design collaboration between Bombardier and VANOC. Formally, the torch is inspired by the “cool, crisp and modern lines that are left behind in the snow and ice from winter sports” and sticks pretty close to the wave forms used throughout the 2010 graphic identity. Whether the form will capture public imagination (no easy task) remains to be seen, but on this project aesthetics were only part of the challenge.
Personally, I’ve never given it much thought, but the Olympic torch involves some pretty serious product design challenges. First, its got to function (produce a visible flame) for at least 12 minutes (long enough for even the slowest torch bearer to walk their 300 meters of the relay), in all kinds of weather, without hurting anyone. To carry out this task, the engineers from Bombardier developed and tested a custom stainless steel burner unit, complete with a maple-leaf-shaped air intake. Next, the designers have to contend with ergonomics; creating a single design that can be carried by people young and old, or fixed to any number of assistive devices.
Finally, the torch must be production ready. Bombardier will produce over 12,000 of these, “so each Olympic Torchbearer may purchase their torch as a commemorative keepsake” – now that’s a souvenir!
Also seen here is the Olympic Torchbearer Uniform – click here to see more.