Olympic and Paralympic torch prototypes, Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games, aluminium / steel / paper / plastic, designed and manufactured by Fink! and Co, Sydney, Australia, 1998
Canberra design company, Fink!, submitted these torch prototypes, called 'Birth' and 'Flight', to the SOCOG Torch Selection Committee on 23 February 1998. It also submitted this company profile for Crontec, the tool makers, metal stampers and engineers that would assist with the fuel system and torch design. The tender reflects some of the Australian iconography that inspired designers before the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and demonstrates the detailed tendering process that preceded the manufacture of the Sydney 2000 torches and cauldrons.
In late 1997, SOCOG invited over fifty local design companies to submit proposals for the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic torches and portable cauldrons that would feature at Torch Relay celebrations. The detailed and exacting brief comprised broad specifications that reflected the enormity of the Torch Relay and the environmental concerns that under pinned the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Essentially, the selected torch, cauldron and fuel system would withstand the extreme weather conditions that might arise during the relay, including high winds of up to 65 kilometres per hour, torrential rain and hail, extreme temperatures, humidity, dust and snow. They would be safe to transport, store, and operate, as well as simple to repair and easy to use. The torch itself would burn for up to 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.)
Fink! responded to this brief with two torch prototypes, 'Birth' and 'Flight', which symbolised the living environment: "the cultural life of the Sydney Opera House; the culture of the boomerang and indigenous ceremonial sticks; the living forms of fauna of land, sea and sky, and the omnipresent floral bud. This unity is bound together with the green ring, symbolising the earth" (Design Submission, Fink!, 23 Feb. 1998). Fink! represented this imagery through a simple, aluminium, interlocking shell that formed a lightweight yet robust torch and fuel cell. Though its Olympic and Paralympic prototypes would feature the same basic design, they would incorporate distinguishing colours, finishes and logos. Echoing the indigenous themes in the torch design, the portable cauldron would represent an Aboriginal coolamon: a wooden or bark vessel for holding water. The anodised aluminium body would rest upon a brushed stainless steel plinth, and would hide the fuelling system.
Design tender submitted by Fink! to SOCOG on 23 February 1991.
It was 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.