Olympic Torch design by Mathieu Lehanneur unveiled

The Olympic Torch and Paralympic Torch design for Paris 2024 was conceived by Mathieu Lehanneur as an expressive object

Paris Olympics 2024 torch design by Mathieu Lehanneur
(Image credit: Courtesy Paris 2024)

The design of the Olympic torch by French designer Mathieu Lehanneur has been unveiled, in a press conference for the Paris 2024 games set to take place between July and August 2024. 

A highly symbolic element of each Olympic Games, the Olympic torch is lit by the sun’s rays at a ritual ceremony at the Temple of Hera at Olympia, Greece, a nod to the Ancient Olympic Games. Meanwhile, for the Paralympic Games, the flame is created at Stoke Mandeville, Great Britain, where the Paralympic movement originated. In France, the torch will make its first stop in Marseille before making its way to the Olympic stadium in Paris.

Paris 2024: Olympic Torch and Paralympic Torch design unveiled

Lehanneur was chosen for the Olympic torch design following a call for tenders set by Paris 2024, and he was selected, a statement from the committee reads, ‘for his poetic and highly symbolic approach, along with his ability to grasp the values and expectations of Paris 2024'.

At the torch’s unveiling in Paris, Lehanneur cited Victor Hugo: ‘“Form is the substance which rises to the surface” – for me, this is a good definition of what design is,’ he said. ‘For a product like the torch, the most important element is not aesthetics or elegance, but how it will be used to convey a message.’ 

Paris 2024 Olympic torch

Paris 2024 president Tony Estanguet with the torch and its designer Mathieu Lehanneur

(Image credit: Courtesy Paris 2024)

His design, Lehanneur explains, ‘gives form to the values of Paris 2024’. Working following principles of equality and peace, and with the city of Paris in mind, he created a design based on symmetry and curves, with water (also a recurring theme of Lehanneur’s work) representing the city of Paris by the Seine, but also the torch’s journey from Olympia to Marseille and to off-site Olympics locations of Martinique and Guadeloupe. 

Mathieu Lehanneur with Paris 2024 Olympics torch design

Lehanneur in the studio

(Image credit: © Felipe Ribon)

Made of steel with the support of ArcelorMittal, the torch is symmetrical on all sides, and features a golden ring separating the smooth top and sculpted bottom. At 70cm high and weighing 1.5kg, it is the result of a brief that gave the designer carte blanche. ‘It was important that this object would be an accessory to the beauty of the flame, so we have designed it with the flame in mind,’ says Lehanneur. Harmonic curves and a pure design language define the torch. ‘I wanted to design an iconic object that people would remember easily,’ he concludes. ‘An object like this doesn't belong to a designer, it belongs to everyone.’

The designer of the Olympic Torch: about Mathieu Lehanneur

Mathieu Lehanneur holds up the Paris 2024 Olympic torch

(Image credit: © Felipe Ribon)

One of France's most prominent designers, Lehanneur is a multidisciplinary creative who, over the course of his career, has created objects, furniture and interiors that often touch upon deeper themes of climate change and community. Among his latest projects was an exhibition at Milan's Triennale, unveiled during Fuorisalone 2022 and curated by Maria Cristina Didero, looking at global statistics to paint a picture of human life and the environment.

Mathieu Lehanneur at Triennale: The Inventory of Life

Mathieu Lehanneur at Triennale: The Inventory of Life, 2022

(Image credit: Mathieu Lehanneur)

Among his most notable projects are solar street lighting furniture presented at COP-21 in Paris, and a plant home air filtration system created in partnership with Harvard University, based on a study developed by Nasa.

'What a joy to be part of this adventure and what a responsibility to contribute to the history of the Games in this way,' commented Lehanneur at the time of his commission. 'Partnering with Paris 2024 to design the torches and cauldrons means giving a visible form to a set of values and transforming a state of mind into iconic objects. Faster, Higher, Stronger –Together. My objective is to take this Olympic motto and add: more beautiful, lighter, more lavish.'

Said Paris 2024 president Tony Estanguet: 'In Mathieu Lehanneur, Paris 2024 has made another bold choice that reflects the audacious approach that we have adopted since the start. A pioneer who has worked with the world’s greatest, internationally renowned French designer Mathieu Lehanneur will bring all his creativity and his poetic approach to the Olympic and Paralympic torches and cauldrons, which are such great symbols of the Games.'



Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.