A flame for the people

11 May, 2015   Peng You Xin

 sea games cauldron
The interactive LED steel mesh of the 28th SEA Games cauldron will display the time, weather, medal tally and other key messages throughout the Games, making it not just beautiful to look at but informative as well. photo: SINGSOC

Strategically placed on the Kallang Waterfront, the new and shiny edifice that is the 28th SEA Games cauldron is certainly hard to miss.

Inspired by the theme of the Games – Celebrate the Extraordinary - the cauldron consists of three standing pillars twisted to resemble the helix of DNA, which are connected by an interactive light-emitting diode (LED) mesh screen.

Besides holding up the structure, the pillars represent the three important facets key to making the regional meet exceptional, namely, the individuals, communities and countries involved. All participating nations in SEA Games 2015 each have a place on the cauldron courtesy of 11 stainless steel bands that go all the way up to the top. Additionally, engravings near the base of the structure share the stories of memorable individuals and communities from Games of the past.

Much like the Olympics, the cauldron will only be lit at the Opening Ceremony of the 28th SEA Games and extinguished on the meet’s final day. However, the Chairman of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies Colonel Lawrence Lim has hopes that the iconic landmark will remain long after the embers of its flame have gone out.

“We believe that the cauldron should live on beyond the SEA Games, to serve as a reminder for all Singaporeans as to what happened here in June 2015,” the Colonel stated, while revealing his plans to engage Sport Singapore and the National Arts Council to find the cauldron a permanent home after the Games.

Besides serving its traditional function, the cauldron will weave in modern innovations and technology. The interactive LED steel mesh will display the time, weather, medal tally and other key messages throughout the Games, making it not just beautiful to look at but informative as well.

“In line with our belief in creating people-centric designs, we are very privileged to have designed the purpose-built cauldron for the 28th SEA Games,” Seah Chee Huang, the Project Director of DP Architects shared.

Another intriguing element of the cauldron is the presence of functional QR codes, placed near the bottom of the structure. The public will be able to access them and learn more about some outstanding individuals who have made their mark on the Games over the years.

Public interactivity was the main motivation behind the decision to place the cauldron in front of the Kallang Waterfront Plaza. Cauldrons from Games of the past have previously been situated within stadiums to protect the symbolic flame from rain and other calamities.

However, the SEA Games 2015 organising committee decided to take a bold step, with the help of some technology, and opted to house the cauldron in a location open to the people.

“We want people to come up close to the cauldron, so that they can connect with it, read the stories around the base of the cauldron as well as relate to it. We hope that in this manner, we can get all Singaporeans to come to this location and support the Games,” Colonel Lawrence reasoned.