Artem Case Studies

London 2012, The Octobus LOCOG

Probably the single most complicated project that Artem completed for the ceremonies which, combined with the many changes along the way and the limited time available, caused a few sleepless nights.

Like most of the items built for the Olympics, the Octobus started out on a computer screen to sort out the practicalities of the design, such as weight, which was a major design criteria due to the staging on which it would have to drive, as well as the visual design for approval purposes.  From here, the physical work progressed in two distinct areas: the bus itself, built from scratch and powered electrically, and the transparent inflatable Octopus, that had to inflate out of it.

The chassis was welded out of lightweight steel and clad mainly in aluminium.  The design was based on the type of bus used in The Beatles' "Magical Mystery Tour" and eventually had a psychedelic design wrapped around it as well as indentations to hold dancers, whose costumes matched the pattern. 

Alongside the bus design and build, the issues surrounding the huge Octopus challenged the fabrication team.  In the first instance, a clay model was produced to work out the size, both to cover the bus out of which it had to inflate and to determine what it would look like in the stadium.  Although the initial decision was for a tentacle size 15m long and 1.3m diameter, it quickly grew to 22m long and 1.7m diameter, roughly doubling the material needed to construct it!  And making an Octopus that was eventually 50m diameter overall. 

The Octopus was fabricated from clear PVC and inflated with multiple fans, one for each tentacle and three for the body.  Special paint was required to spray the PVC and it took the entire main workshop at Artem to accommodate each.

Finally, 700m of colour changing LEDs were installed together with their control systems to enable the Octopus to fully come to life! 

  • Live Events
  • Animation & Puppets
  • Electronic Design
  • Mechanical Rigs
  • Props
  • Sculpture
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