Beyond 2012

by agwelch

Editor’s blog post


It was a privilege last week to attend ‘Beyond 2012’ the Design Council’s celebration of the multitude of design stories that contributed to the magnificent success of the London Olympic Games.

On a beautiful evening in Hackney at a venue overlooking the Olympic (now the Queen Elizabeth) Park, it was wonderful to reacquaint myself with the Stadium, the Aquatics Centre, and the Velodrome – sites of so much tension, drama and jubilation twelve months ago.

I’d written extensively in the last year about some of the major design stories related to the games. The logo, BarberOsgerby’s torch, Heatherwick’s cauldron and Locog’s ticketing system all engaged both the design community and the general public. Indeed, one of the most interesting aspects of the Games from the perspective of a design journalist was the way in which a sporting event brought design (in all its forms) into the realm of public debate.

Nevertheless, Beyond 2012 was a fascinating opportunity to learn about some of the design narratives behind the Games which had not previously entered the public domain. I must admit it was quite an emotional experience to contemplate the extraordinarily level of effort and ingenuity that had ensured the London Olympics were such an amazing experience and the extent to which that memorable summer made the words of cynics and sceptics appear ridiculous.

Beyond 2012 was not only an exercise in looking backwards. As pleasant as bathing in the golden glow of London 2012 nostalgia is, the challenge now is to ensure that the much-cited ‘Legacy’ of the Games is delivered.

One key element of said legacy is the future of the Olympic Park. Speaking at the event, Kathryn Firth, chief of design at the London Legacy Development Corporation, explained the task was to “turn this park into a piece of city.” With the site having recently welcomed Bruce Spingsteen and Mumford and Sons its transition from Olympic hub to part of London’s long-term social, cultural, and commercial fabric has begun.

Royal Mail Stamps - Olympics III - Gymnastics

The Design Council is curating an online resource to assemble design stories related to the London 2012 Games. The Design Council welcomes new submissions from design teams who worked on the games to share their experiences.