Imagine were asked to tender for a huge 5m diameter inflatable golden apple to be used in the Paralympic opening ceremony alongside some smaller more realistic looking helium filled apples.
LOCOG wanted the small helium filled apples to have a diameter of no more than 130cm. This presented us with a problem as the PVC we usually use to produce helium filled items would not float with a volume this small. After some investigating we found a much lighter material called TPU that we could use. We produced an apple shape and found that with helium it would float well. The material is very very delicate so the upmost care had to be taken while producing the apple and while inflating it for tests.
While the smaller apples were being produced we were also working on a prototype for the large golden apple:
The helium apples and the large apple both worked very well so we could proceed to make printed samples.
The artwork for the apple was tricky to do as each panel need to be different to ensure a real apple look was obtained. Here is the first printed sample:
We took the sample to LOCOG and they wanted to make some changes to the leaf and panel design before the final batch of 51 apples was produced.
You can see the shape was also changed to look more apple like. We attached a piece of cord inside the apple and tightened it so that when it was inflated the apple became more 'squat' and creating a nice dimple shape.
The apples looked great and flew very well when filled with helium.
After various tests with material and print for the large golden apple that was to be suspended and dropped from abobe the stadium we decided that the best way forward was to hand paint it gold. Although it would take our artist a long time to paint a 5m diameter apple, this would give a much better effect and shine like LOCOG were looking for.
When it was finished Imagines operators went to the olympic stadium for a test flight of how the apple was going to work.
After much hard work the small apples and the large golden apple looked brilliant on the night. We hope you agree!