The London 2012 Olympic Cauldron, designed by Thomas Heatherwick, was great. That along with Barber Osgerby’s torch design were two of my favorites from the ceremony.
The cauldron consists of 204 copper petals, each representing one of the competing nations. They were brought into the stadium by each team as part of the athletes’ procession then attached to long pipes in a ring at the centre of the arena.
I found the cauldron sequence and the cauldron itself to be expressive and beautiful, but the rest of the opening ceremony was fine… but it just wasn’t Beijing’s all out spectacle.