China's harmony, culture rolled up in Olympic torch, says chief designer

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 30 April, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 30 April, 2008, 12:00am

The chief designer of the Olympic torch has revealed the inspiration behind the idea - a rolled-up piece of paper.

The torch, called 'Clouds of Promise', was designed by Yao Yingjia, vice-president of the Lenovo Group, and a team of about 30.

Speaking to Polytechnic University design students, Mr Yao said a core group of 10 designers worked for more than 10 months on the shape, colour, style and texture of the torch. He said a core team member came up with the central concept by rolling up a piece of paper and holding it aloft: paper is one of China's greatest inventions.

The top half of the roughly 1kg torch is silver embossed with fine red lines that form a cloud pattern. The handle and the torch's body are exactly the same length, to symbolise the Chinese concept of harmony.

Mr Yao said the team had toyed with the phoenix and Great Wall, but decided the cloud pattern was best.

'Clouds are intimately associated with Chinese culture, and are often represented in works of Chinese architecture, drawing and painting, furniture and story-telling,' he said. 'The image of clouds also represents the dynamic and ever-developing Chinese culture.'

A rubber handle was added, the first for an Olympic torch, to make it more comfortable for the torch-bearer.

Mr Yao said he hoped to stay in Hong Kong to watch the torch relay.