October 15th, 2009
Meet the Vacouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic medals. Their undulating
forms evoke British Columbia’s mountains, ocean and snow. Their faces
are drawn from West Coast First Nations artwork depicting the orca and
raven. Every medal is one of a kind. Their substantial size gives them
Making the 2010 Winter Games medals was a two-year project because
they’re so unique. It was a collaborative effort between Canadian
Aboriginal designer/artist, Corrine Hunt, internationally renowned
industrial designer, Omer Arbel, the Royal Canadian Mint, Teck
Resources Limited, and VANOC’s in-house design team. Together this
team created medals that reflect the magnitude of the accomplishments
they represent: They are among the heaviest medals in Olympic and
Paralympic history, weighing between 500 grams to 576 g depending on
the medal. As for size, the Olympic medals are 100 millimetres in
diameter and about six mm thick, while the Paralympic medals are 95 mm
wide and about six mm thick.
The blueprints for these medals are based on two large master artworks
(Olympic and Paralympic) from which each of the medals was
hand-cropped. No crop is the same as another so that ensures every
medal is unique. The master artworks were created by Corrine Hunt, a
Vancouver, BC-based artist of Komoyue and Tlingit heritage. Hunt chose
the orca as the motif for the Olympic medals, and the raven as the
motif for the Paralympic medals.
The matte orca or raven design is lasered onto the front face of the
medals, and within this design is a delicate wood grain pattern that
can be seen up close. Canadian industrial designer and architect Omer
Arbel, also of Vancouver, used his extensive knowledge of materials
and fabrication processes to create the innovative undulating design
of the medals, which are struck nine times each to achieve the
distinctive look as part of the 30-step medal fabrication process.
The Olympic medals are circular in shape, while the Paralympic medals
are a superellipse or squared circle.