One of the most exhilarating moments of the Olympic Opening Ceremonies is when the torch is passed to its last bearer and they proceed to light the Olympic cauldron with its symbolic flame. In preparation for every occurrence of the Games, much time and thought are put into the design of the cauldron—which bears the Olympic flame for the duration of the events. For the
Sato created a total of 85 drafts before deciding on the final design. Some of his earlier iterations included flames trapped in a heat-resistant glass sphere and spinning the flames into a spherical form in order to capture the essence of the Sun. However, the final aluminum sphere comprises an upper and lower hemisphere, each composed of five panels meant to represent the Olympic Rings. From its orb-like shape, it “blooms” to welcome the ceremonial flame. “This expresses not only the Sun itself, but also the energy and vitality that can be obtained from it,” the design studio reveals in a
The innovative cauldron was meticulously crafted and looks to the future in its materials and design as well. The flame itself is fueled by hydrogen energy produced in Fukushima Prefecture, a region that is still recovering from the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. And, since hydrogen burns with an invisible flame, it had to be colored by flame reaction with sodium carbonate to produce the blaze’s vibrant color. As it reflects off of the polygonal mirrors that line the interior of the panels, the light is diffused and reflected throughout the arena.
One can only imagine how tennis star
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic cauldron was designed by Japanese design studio Nendo.
The aluminum orb blooms to welcome the ceremonial flame, which is then fueled by hydrogen energy.