Decoding Design

Students tapped to design the London 2012 Olympic podiums

Posting in Architecture

The recently unveiled podiums for this summer's medals ceremonies in London were designed by Royal Academy of Art students.

The London Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) recently unveiled the designs for the podiums to be used for this summer's medals ceremonies, as well as the costumes to be worn by the medal bearers.

The LOCOG approached students at the famed Royal College of Art (RCA) in October of 2011 to design the look of the victory ceremonies. After a series of workshops, five RCA students were selected.

One of the five, Gaetano Ling, graduated in Innovation Design Engineering and specializes in materials, robotics and technology. Ling and his colleagues (Hong-Yeul Eom, Luc Fusaro, Heegun Koo and Yan Lu) worked with London 2012 as well as college tutors to create the look, which according to Ling is a material interpretation of the London 2012 logo, designed by Wolff Olins.

"We drew lines from the London 2012 logo and made a dynamic extension from that to create something more 3D which would look good from any angle," Ling told Design Week. He added that purple was selected because the designers needed something to fit all venues. "We could have gone with white, but it would have tarnished easily," he said.

This design, for the first time ever, the same podium design will be use for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games, so Ling and Co included ramps. The 40 podiums will support 4,400 future Olympic medalists.

The costumes will be donned by 100 volunteers, and 200 male flower and medal bearers. The designers looked to  both Greek mythology and British history, according the LOCOG, saying "The inspiration for this design included the architecture of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games venues combined with aspects of British tailoring and sportwear."

The idea of making an inclusive podium design for both sets of games is good, but sticking to a theme is a historic problem of Olympic design, whether it's the logo, the mascots or even the podium. Oftentimes the final products end up looking cartoonish. Weigh in below.

[Design Week]
Images: LOCOG

Share this

Beth Carter

Contributing Editor

Beth Carter is a freelance journalist based in San Francisco. She has worked for Catalyst magazine, the New York Times Syndicate, BBC Travel and Wired. She holds degrees from the University of Oregon and New York University. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure