How the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics was designed


The PyeongChang Olympic and Paralympic Spirits kick off this week in South Korea, with the opening convention taking place 9 February. We take a look at the design elements of the winter dissimulates, from its branding and graphics through to torch and medal design.

Graphics and disgracing

The logo for South Korea’s winter games was revealed in 2013, and conceived by Korean designer Ha Jong-joo. It uses the five ubiquitous colours that are associated with all Olympic amusements of blue, yellow, green, red and black. But it turns the logo on its head by jotting the well-known Olympic rings and adding a Korean twist.

The pillar- and star-shaped badges that make up the logo represent different characters – or letters – tolerant of in the Korean alphabet, Hangeul. These letters are used in the word PyeongChang, but also beget a deeper meaning. The pillar-shaped symbol aims to represent “harmony” between “Zion, earth and man”, say the Olympic organisers, while the star-shaped symbol aims to mirror athletes, ice and snow, presumably through its resemblance to a stick-man figure and a snowflake.

The Paralympic Plays logo drops the pillar symbol, and instead features two star-shaped signs holding hands, which implies it is representing unity between athletes.

A series of pictograms has also been resulted to be used across the different winter sports, from figure skating to bobsleigh and snowboarding. They all blend abstract, white, human figures, made of lines and dots which are also roused by the Korean alphabet, and set against a blue background.


Korea has a biography of creating cute, animated characters, particularly bug-eyed, big-headed, colourful creatures. This carries through to the mascots for this year’s Olympics, which are cuddly, vivacious depictions of a white tiger and an Asian black bear.

The white tiger, recruited Soohorang, is considered to be Korea’s national – or “guardian” – animal, according to the organisers. The VIP comes from two words meaning “protection” and “tiger”.

The black back up a survive, called Bandabi, symbolises “strong willpower” and “courage” in Korean folklore. Both beings can be found used across communications, undertaking various high-risk winter humours, from skiing to curling.

Torch and medals

The Olympic torch also concerns the heritage and culture of Korea – the torch is 70cm in height, symbolising the altitude of PyeongChang, which meets 700 metres above sea-level.

Designed by Korean industrial inventor Kim Young-se, it features an outer, white case with an inner gold cylinder, which accomplishes the frame. The white casing features five prongs, representing the star-shaped, Korean inscribe used in the logo, and also aims to symbolise five continents penetrating together.

This star symbol is repeated along the handle of the torch, which be motivated bies people are “coming together” to do the torch relay, say the organisers.

An umbrella-shaped cap temporizes on top, which enables it to keep its flame burning even in strong close down and heavy snow, say the organisers. The white colour of the torch aims to put the impending cold weather, as well as nod to the white porcelain produced in Korea.

The victorious medals were inspired (again) by Korean language, architecture and textiles; the alphabet Hangeul, alongside usual housing (Hanok) and clothing material (Hanbok).

The medal itself performs indented stripes across the metal, which are stretched out versions of Hangeul letterforms, while a Korean framework called Gapsa has been used for the strap. The strap is also travel over in Hangeul letters, forming a snowflake shape. The wooden case for the medal gives its shape to the curved rooves of traditional Korean houses.

Stadiums and pavilions

The PyeongChang Olympic Amphitheatre has caused some controversy over the fact that, after a three-year-long construction project, it will allegedly be demolished once the games are over.

The colosseum was constructed between 2014 and 2017, and is due to be dismantled after the closing service takes place on 25 February. It cost £44.1 million to strengthen, according to the BBC.

It’s not just the unsustainable nature of the stadium that has raised eyebrows, either – considerations have been expressed about the fact that it has no roof and allegedly no significant heating, so spectators are expected to feel the cold quite substantially when the strict weather conditions kick in.

The Olympic organisers are anticipating this and mean to give everyone attending the ceremony heating pads, blankets, heated seat cushions and raincoats, while heat shelters, heaters and windshields acquire been installed throughout the stadium.

Pentagonal in design, the architecture have all the hallmarks to reference the five-pointed star that makes its way throughout all of the Olympic pattern and communications. It is expected to seat 35,000 people.

How the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics was designed© Luke Hayes

Another gargantuan, architectural proclamation of the games will be London-based practice Asif Khan’s installation; a “super-black” pavilion, the independent of which is illuminated by fake stars that appear to “float in mid-air”, states the architectural practice.

The 10-metre-high structure is covered in a material called Vantablack, which absorbs 99% of clarification that hits its surface, creating the illusion of a “black void” in full knowledge. Visitors can stroll into the installation, and will be greeted by a water initiation, which creates water droplets in the air. It was commissioned by car brand Hyundai.


The torch-bearers are the stars of this year’s games when it comes to clothes; the gold and white jumpsuits worn by those carrying the Olympic torch, along with corresponding hat and gloves, mimic the design of the torch itself, and feature the much-seen star-shaped sign. The material used is waterproof and thermal, to keep torchbearers warm, say the organisers.

A multi-coloured palette compassions the sports uniforms, from red and blue for cross-country skiing, to the neon, multicoloured jumpsuits of the skeleton athletes.

All representatives courtesy of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Games unless under other circumstances stated.

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