Atopia says it was approached by the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games to create designs for a sustainability pavilion and developed a structure of petals that would travel from all the participating countries and be assembled during the Opening Ceremony.
Atopia says it was not paid for the work and was unable to discuss the claims until now, due to a restrictive non-disclosure agreement that expired in January.
The Guardian also quotes former Locog design principal Kevin Owens as saying, ‘Strands of [Atopia’s] work became part of what was taken forward, and I wish there was a way we could acknowledge that.’ Owens, however, also says he had never seen images of Atopia’s proposal.
Heatherwick has issued a strident denial of the claims, saying that any suggestion that he or Locog implemented a pre-existing idea is ‘ludicrous’.
He says, ‘Before this week, I – and the entire team I was working with – knew absolutely nothing about this proposal, or the ideas it is claimed it contained. None of us saw or were shown the illustrations published in The Guardian on 19 June 2013 until two days ago.’
He adds, ‘Danny and I evolved the idea for the cauldron over many months, in iterative rounds of discussions and I am appalled at the suggestion that either of us would let ourselves be influenced by any previous work. We were most definitely not steered by LOCOG towards this or any other idea. Any suggestion to the contrary is an affront to our creative integrity.’
Danny Boyle, artistic director of the Opening Ceremony, says, ‘Thomas and I evolved the idea for the cauldron over many months of discussions. I categorically deny that LOCOG briefed us to work with, develop or implement any pre-existing idea that had been presented to them.
‘I also absolutely and categorically reject any suggestion, whatever its motive, that Thomas or I were influenced by anything other than our obligation to create a ceremonial work of art that celebrated British originality, creativity and engineering.’
Martin Green, former head of ceremonies at London 2012, says, ‘Neither these nor any other images or presentations played any part in the briefing I gave to Danny Boyle and Thomas Heatherwick at the beginning of the process to create the Olympic and Paralympic Cauldron.
‘The design for the cauldron came about solely from the creative conversations between Danny, Thomas and myself.’