The Olympic cauldron will be broken up at the London closing ceremony and each of its 204 copper 'petals' given to the competing nations as a souvenir, its creator said Saturday.
Thomas Heatherwick said he had wanted to create a cauldron for the Olympic flame that would "root the whole ceremony in the spectators, in the people who would be there".
"We were aware that cauldrons have been getting bigger, higher, fatter, as each Olympics has happened and we felt that we shouldn't try to be even bigger than the last ones," he told a press conference.
"So then when we were thinking about this incredible event with these 204 nations coming together... it didn't feel enough to just design a different shape of bowl on a stick."
His solution was to create a cauldron comprised of stems topped with the petals which hydraulically lifted to converge and create a cauldron shape after they were lit in the opening ceremony.
The cauldron was lit in the center of the Olympic stadium but before the athletics events begins there on August 3, it will be lifted into place at one end of the stadium where a giant bell hung during the opening ceremony.
"At the end of the Games this cauldron will dismantle itself and radiate back down to the ground and each of those copper pieces taken away by each nation and put in a national Olympic cabinet somewhere," Heatherwick said.
The lighting of the cauldron by seven young athletes was one of the surprises of a ceremony devised by British film director Danny Boyle which featured James Bond in a spoof film with Queen Elizabeth II.
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