Watching the Olympics, you may have noticed medalists standing on the podium holding a little object instead of the traditional floral bouquet. That trophy-like tchotchke is actually a sculpture of the official Rio Olympics logo, which also happens to be the first 3D logo in the history of the Games.
Designed by Brazilian graphic designer Fred Gelli and his design studio Tátil after beating out nearly 140 competitors, the fluid, colorful logo shows three figures joining hands and feet à la Henri Matisse’s dancing ladies. Speaking at the Design Indaba conference earlier this year, Gelli said that design proposals were required to address 12 different aspects, from reflecting the host nation’s culture to being universally understood, and simultaneously be “printed on a pen” and “dress the whole city.”
It took Gelli and his team 50 versions before settling on the final logo, which was produced as a 3D model and incorporates the curves of Sugarloaf Mountain. (The team also created the logo for the Paralympics.) When viewed in the original digital scheme, the image can be rotated, as if the figures are spinning in a circle. 3D modeling also allows for it to be rendered as a physical object, which is what we see Olympians clutching during the medal ceremony.
As for the flowers? According to Thrillist, Rio officials decided that bouquets were not a sustainable option for the Games (though flowers are still included as stage decoration) and instead opted for a sculpture of the logo as a gift to winning athletes. This marks the first Olympics to get rid of bouquets.