Olympic torch prototype, Olympic Torch Relay, Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, chrome / anodised aluminium, designed by Blue Sky, Sydney, made by Box & Dice, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1999
Sydney model-makers, Box & Dice, used computer-generated designs to manufacture this prototype of the Sydney Olympic torch in chrome, plastic and aluminum. The prototype represents an important stage in the development of the Blue Sky torch and, in combination with other tenders, reflects the Australian iconography that inspired local designers before the Games. It also demonstrates the detailed tendering process that preceded the manufacture of the Sydney 2000 torches and cauldrons.
In early 1998, SOCOG invited over fifty local design companies to submit proposals for the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic torches, and the portable cauldrons that would feature at Torch Relay celebrations. The design brief included specifications relating to form, function, manufacture and innovation. "The design of the Torch for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games should embody the Vision we have for the Games of the New Millennium. It should exemplify the Spirit as our logo does and express the unselfish, dynamic and optimistic attitude of our strategy. It should be innovative and visionary and showcase Australian materials, clean fuels and engineering."
Essentially, the selected torch and cauldron would withstand extreme weather conditions, including winds of up to 65 kilometres per hour, torrential rain and hail, varying temperatures, humidity, dust and snow. They would also be safe to transport, store, and operate, simple to repair and easy to use. The torch would burn for thirty minutes while the portable cauldron, with a much larger fuel system, would burn for no less than twelve hours. Moreover, both the torch and cauldron would be ergonomic for the young, elderly and disabled, lightweight, fuel-efficient, and inexpensive to mass-produce. (The combined Olympic and Paralympic Torch Relays would require 14,200 torches and 187 community cauldrons.)
Sydney industrial designers, Blue Sky, responded to this brief with four distinct torch designs, entitled 'Spirit of Sydney', 'Spirit of Australia', 'Spirit of Indigenous Australia', and 'Spirit of Olympism'. These designs ranged progressively from conservative to modern - an approach intended so that the Torch Selection Committee would favour at least one design. Ultimately, 'Spirit of Sydney' would win the competition.
With its broad and graceful curve, the Olympic torch echoed the arch of the hunting boomerang and contained both a visual and physical sense of balance. Its three-tiered surface, in white, chrome and aqua, reflected the bright colours and fresh atmosphere of Sydney Harbour, and captured a sense of the innovation and modernity that would become hallmarks of the Games. Terminating with a scalloped rim, these tiers represented the arched and overlapping roofline of the Sydney Opera House, while the textured, water-like surface alluded to the waters of Sydney Harbour and enhanced the torch's modern appearance. (The portable cauldron was designed to supplement the torch, and featured similar colours, contours and finishes.)
Blue Sky submitted this torch prototype and wooden box to the SOCOG Torch Selection Committee on 23 February 1998. This was the last submission before the Torch Selection Committee chose the winning design. Katie Molnar and Bang Design, both from Sydney, also submitted torch prototypes for this final round. The Committee viewed a design presentation, video and final prototype from each contender before it made its decision.
Blue Sky submitted this torch prototype to the Torch Selection Committee on 28 February 1998. This winning submission was one of three finalists in the design competition for the Sydney Olympic and Paralympic torches..
Made for and owned by the Olympic Coordination Authority/Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games, and donated to the Powerhouse Museum after use in the Games.