We need a design effort of Olympic proportions

You were generous to include my name with some of my heroes in your second piece about your fears, which I share, about the quality of Olympic design for 2012 (Comment, DW 3 April).

You were generous to include my name with some of my heroes in your second piece about your fears, which I share, about the quality of Olympic design for 2012 (Comment, DW 3 April).

The Olympic torch is a flame of optimism that won’t be blown out by cynicism or anger about any current situation. It’s a profound symbol of human aspiration and the pursuit of excellence.

I happened to see a form inviting designers to apply for work on various Olympic projects. I also saw a letter of rejection. Both were sad and demeaning examples of bureaucracy, unlikely to create an atmosphere of challenge and leadership. They lacked any sense of an invitation to join a community testing its talents to extremes. Just business as usual.

You were right to point out the difference between competent management and inspiring leadership. This was implicit in your earlier piece about the huge opportunity the Olympics presents to express the brilliance of Britain. You were right too, to highlight the need for a czar, or ‘one pair of eyes’ with a wide-open mind and the urge to push relentlessly for the epitome of creativity.

Going beyond what’s reasonable is what wins in every detail of the Olympics, not just on the track.

‘Olympic creativity’ and the design that will flow from it can immediately start a new chapter and be ready for a world that will be very different in 2012. We should be drawing the future down, not extrapolating from the past. The symbol was and remains controversial.

Maybe, as in any Olympic event, there’s still scope for its performance to improve. Every aspect of Olympic design should be astonishing. Everything should exceed expectations. Like any Olympic athlete, winning should be the only goal.

Michael Wolff, Founder, Michael Wolff & Company, London WC1

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