British Designers Win Award for Aluminium Olympic Torch

The Olympic torch that was carried via relay throughout the United Kingdom to London for the 2012 Summer Olympics is an award-winning aluminum design.

British designers Edward Barber and Jay Osbergy earned the London Design Museum's 2012 Design of the Year award for their two-lb., 31-inch-high perforated aluminum torch.

The gold-colored torch is made up of an inner and outer aluminum alloy skin held in place by a cast top piece and base.

"Nothing is harder to get right than designing for the Olympics," said Design Museum director Deyan Sudjic. "The lightness and simplicity of Barber Osgerby's London 2012 Olympic Torch does just that. The torch not only captures the spirit of London as Olympic host city but also demonstrates how design can celebrate traditional ideas in a modern way."

The designers selected lightweight aluminum for the design to minimize fatigue for the torch-bearing runners. To further reduce weight—and to minimize the heat transfer from the flame to runners' hands—Barber and Osbergy perforated the torch with 8,000 holes.

Each hole represents one of the 8,000 runners who will help transport the torch 8,000 miles on its way to London Olympic Stadium on July 27 for the Games' opening ceremony.

Eighteen months in development, the torch—which Brits have nicknamed the "cheese grater"—underwent rigorous testing to ensure it would be able to withstand any and all climatic conditions it might encounter during its 70-day journey throughout the U.K. At BMW's Energy and Environmental Test Center in Munich, the torch endured snow, driving rain, winds of 50 mph, and temperatures ranging from 23 degrees to 104 degrees Fahrenheit without failure of the torch or its flame.

The traditional Lighting Ceremony took place on May 10 at the Temple of Hera, Olympia, home of the Ancient Olympic Games. After a week-long relay in Greece, the torch began its tour of the U.K. at Land's End in Cornwall.