Designing and branding the Olympics

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The Olympic opening ceremonies, directed by filmmaker Danny Boyle, are tonight. They will include a much-anticipated parade of farm animals.

In the lead-up to the Games, there has been a lot of grumbling (most recently from would-be president Mitt Romney, demonstrating his diplomatic skills by referring to the pre-games challenges as “disconcerting” on his first day in England).There has also been grumbling from design critics, who have complained about a muddled vision for the branding and architecture of the games. But there’s also tremendous hope attached to that same vision — mainly for the “legacy” concept that won London the games, that meant building cost-effective, reusable Olympic buildings (the demountable, lightweight stadium, shown left, uses minimal steel in its construction) and siting the Games in a new Olympic Park on a once toxic brownfield site in a very poor part of the East End, all to be transformed later into a people’s park with new development around it. Hear all about it on this DnA and read more here:  especially inspiring are Clive Dutton, Chief of Planning for the London Borough of Newham,and designer Thomas Heatherwick.

We talk about the meaning of the graffiti- inspired Olympic logo,the Teletubby-like mascots, and the opening ceremony featuring farm animals. Listen below: