My Olympic journey started four years ago in 2008 when I was commissioned by Populous to work on colour for the stadium and it has been a long and fascinating project. And so it was with huge excitement and a sense of the concluding chapter that we set out on Friday night, four golden tickets in hand, two over excited children in my charge for the opening ceremony at Stratford.
The buzz in the park was tangible before you had got through the first gate; People dressed head to toe in Union Jack rubbing along with visitors in full national dress vying for photographs with servicemen as they entered the park.
For me it would be the first time after so many months of meetings, sampling and installation that I would see the Wrap, which holds the main emphasis of my colour installation actually in use with throngs of visitors moving throughout the building. The wrap consists of 336 panels coloured with a gradation of 56 colours encircling the structure. The stadium is an open structured building with no hierarchy or grand main entrance, each Wrap blade creating an entrance, it’s layout welcomes and invites. I felt strangely emotional to finally see this iconic building as it should be, alive with people and it was a very proud sight indeed.
The night that unfolded before was a continued marathon of emotions, surpassing all expectations. The four of us sat spellbound, eyes on stalks for the five hour show which is no small feat for a seven and nine year old. It was British creativity at it’s best; touching, eclectic, theatrical and historic. With a bold reference to all that we do best, a sense of humour, brilliant music, magical story telling and true tradition the show was utterly captivating.
We were close enough to really see the attention to detail and to feel imbedded in the action and when the teams of athletes started to parade around the track we wondered what it was that each child at the front was carrying. Around ‘K’ in the alphabet we had decided that these intriguing shiny components must be making up the much anticipated cauldron and this was of course the stunning conclusion to the night.
For my seven year old his favourite bit was seeing the ‘real’ queen parachute down to the stadium; In all honesty I couldn’t say what was best for me but as we staggered homeward at 1am, hearts full, heads spinning I had a great sense that this epic project was finally concluded and that we had all just witnessed something truly British and truly exceptional. I feel enormously proud to have had the opportunity to play a small part in this historic Olympic project and seated in Row 10 on Friday night I felt very fortunate to be part of this brilliant and creative Britain.