barberosgerby: london 2012 olympic torch
barberosgerby: london 2012 olympic torch
jun 08, 2011

barberosgerby: london 2012 olympic torch

2012 olympic torch prototype designed by barberosgerby image courtesy of london2012 / getty images




earlier today the the london organising committee of the olympic games and paralympic games (LOCOG ) unveiled prototypes of the london 2012 olympic torch designed by barberosgerby.


the torch is made from a golden aluminium alloy that is perforated by 8000 circular holes, each representing one of the 8000 torch-bearers that will take part in the olympic relay. it has a height of 800mm and weighs 800g.

barberosgerby: london 2012 olympic torch 2012 olympic torch prototype designed by barberosgerby image courtesy of london2012 / getty images




earlier this year, east london-based designers edward barber and jay osgerby won the competitive tender run by LOCOG and the design council that set the brief to design a torch that reflects the celebratory nature of the olympic torch relay and the olympic games. the winning design connects the london 2012 olympic torch relay to each of the 8,000 torchbearers and their community. the torch’s triangular, gold-coloured form is perforated by 8,000 circles representing the 8,000 torchbearers and their stories of personal achievement and/or contribution to their local community which will be celebrated during the london 2012 olympic torch relay.

barberosgerby: london 2012 olympic torch sebastian coe with the 2012 olympic torch prototype image courtesy of london2012 / getty images




sebastian coe, chair of LOCOG, said: ‘the torch that carries the olympic flame during the olympic torch relay is one of the most recognisable and significant symbols of an olympic games. members of the public right across the UK are busy nominating inspiring people to be torchbearers and i am thrilled we have a beautifully designed, engineered and crafted torch for them to carry.


‘integral to the design are the 8,000 circles, a lasting representation of the torchbearer  stories of personal achievement or contribution to their local community that will be showcased with every step of the relay.’  


edward barber and jay osgerby explained: ‘ever since we were young we have loved  the olympic games. as designers, this is quite simply the best project going: to design an icon for the games. we’ve wanted to be involved since july 2005 when we were celebrating winning the bid with the rest of the UK.


we have worked hard to develop a torch that celebrates the relay, and reflects the passion for london and the olympic games. we wanted to make the most of pioneering production technologies and to demonstrate the industrial excellence available in the UK – it’s a torch for our time. this is our opportunity to represent the UK, in design terms, and we are incredibly proud to be doing so.’


design: the torch is made up of four key pieces – an inner and an outer aluminium alloy skin perforated by 8,000 circles that are held in place by a cast top piece and base.

barberosgerby: london 2012 olympic torch jay osgerby and edward barber image courtesy of barber osgerby




representing the inspirational stories of the 8,000 torchbearers who will carry the olympic flame, the circles which run the length of the body of the torch also offer a unique level of transparency – allowing people to see right to the heart of the torch and view the burner system which will keep the olympic flame alive. the circles also help ensure heat is quickly dissipated without being conducted down the handle and providing extra grip. london 2012 partner, BMW, have provided the use of their climatic testing facility for the torch to be tested.


shape: the torch stands 800mm high. its triangular form has been inspired by the identification of a multiples of three that are found across the vision and delivery of the olympic games:

• the three olympic values of respect, excellence and friendship • the three words that make the olympic motto – faster, higher, stronger • the fact the UK has hosted the olympic games three times – in 1908, 1948 and 2012 • the vision for the london 2012 olympic games to combine three strands of work – sport, education and culture.

barberosgerby: london 2012 olympic torch 2012 olympic torch prototype designed by barberosgerby image courtesy of london2012 / getty images




weight the torch weighs 800g. responding to a call in the brief to recognise the fact that more than half of the london 2012 torchbearers are expected to be young people aged between 12 and 24, several design features have been implemented to produce what will be one of the lighter olympic torches. crafted from an aluminium alloy, developed for the aerospace and automotive industry that is lightweight whilst having good tensile strength and excellent heat resistance, the 8,000 circles also reduce the weight of the final design whilst ensuring strength isn’t compromised.


colour the gold colour finish embraces the qualities of the olympic flame – the brightness and the warmth of the light that it shines. the 8,000 torches will have a gold-coloured finish that delivers an aesthetic beauty whilst having the ability to withstand the temperature of the olympic flame.

  • Nice, simple and elegant. Congrats.

    Sarah says:
  • much better than the logo 😀

    theamoeba says:
  • the torch is nice, but i cant get over how hideous the logo is.

    yojic says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

design news

keep up with our daily and weekly stories
504,284 subscribers
- see sample
- see sample
designboom magazine