Re-light my fire: Manchester Metropolitan University graduate’s Olympic Cauldron to be lit again

By Phoebe Hurst

The Olympic Cauldron, designed by former Manchester Metropolitan University student Thomas Heatherwick, is set to light up the Olympic Stadium again for the start of the track and field events.

Made up of 204 copper petals and stainless steel stems, the lighting of the MMU graduate’s cauldron was admired by the thousands of people who watched the Olympics Opening Ceremony in London.

Each petal represented a competing nation and was lit up before merging together to create one giant flame.

Mr Heatherwick, 42, graduated from MMU in 1991 after completing a Three Dimensional Design course.

He went on to create the ‘B of the Bang’ sculpture situated outside the City of Manchester Stadium to mark the 2002 Commonwealth Games and helped with the updated design of the Routemaster buses in London.

He is also a Senior Fellow at the Royal College and as well as his degree from MMU, has been awarded honorary doctorates from Sheffield Hallam and Dundee.

David Grimshaw, the Three Dimensional Design programme leader at MMU, spoke of his happiness at the former student’s Olympic success.

He said: “We’re incredibly proud of all of Tom’s achievements, and for him to be commissioned to design the London Olympic Cauldron is a great honour”.

He added that the Olympic design remained close to the values taught through the university’s Three Dimensional design course.

“The cauldron reflects an emotional sensitivity, communicating a story of inclusivity and togetherness through a single object.

“It reflects all of the values we hold dear on the programme, and Tom’s success will be an inspiration to all our students,” he said.

MMU’s Three Dimensional Design course helps students to develop skills in designing objects that combine the traditions of hand-making with new machine and digital manufacturing technology.

For more information about the university and the course, visit

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