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London 2012 Cauldron's first public display since Games in new Museum of London gallery
The centrepieces of the gallery are two huge seven metre sections of the Cauldron, comprising of 97 of the original steel stems and test versions of the copper elements.

LONDON.- Team GB and ParalympicsGB’s burnt, charred and discoloured copper elements , which blazed alight in the London 2012 Cauldron, are on alternate display, for a limited time only, this summer.

They feature in a new permanent gallery at the Museum of London, Designing a Moment: The London 2012 Cauldron, which coincides with the second anniversary of the London 2012 Games. It tells the story of one of the most enduring and creative symbols of the triumphant London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games - the London 2012 Cauldron - designed by the internationally renowned Heatherwick Studio. The gallery will take visitors through the Cauldron’s design and making, the unveiling moment and its ceremonial role, and its legacy.

On Friday 27 July 2012, 204 unique copper elements, each alight and representing every competing nation (and later 164 nations for the Paralympic Cauldron), 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.

The centrepieces of the gallery are two huge seven metre sections of the Cauldron, comprising of 97 of 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.

The original Team GB Olympic copper element will be on display for a limited time only (until 27 August 2014) after which it will return to the British Olympic Association / British Olympic Foundation and be replaced by the ParalympicsGB copper element, on loan from the British Paralympic Association, to coincide with the anniversary of the opening ceremony. This will remain on show until 23 October 2014, after which it will be replaced by an unassigned Paralympic copper element , beautifully coloured in its unique patina.

The exhibition has been designed by the creative consultants, Drinkall Dean, in close consultation with the Museum of London and Heatherwick Studio. It is housed in a bespoke new pavilion extension in the courtyard of the museum – the first new permanent gallery to be opened since 2010, especially built by Stage One – the creative engineers behind the London 2012 Cauldron.

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.”

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

Behind-the-scenes films offer clues to the Cauldron’s secret history prior to the magical unveiling two summers ago, while 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.

Thomas Heatherwick, Founder and Principal at Heatherwick Studio, 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.”

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 hold- your-breath moment that worked so, so beautifully. We might have been tearing our hair out at times, but what a joy, what a privilege.”

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 copper elements . 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.

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