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The Inspiration and Design

The Vancouver 2010 medals are based on two large master artworks of an orca whale (Olympic) and raven (Paralympic) by Corrine Hunt, a Canadian designer/artist of Komoyue and Tlingit heritage based in Vancouver, BC. Canadian industrial designer and architect Omer Arbel, also of Vancouver, used his extensive knowledge of materials and fabrication processes to create the innovative undulating design of the medals, which are struck nine times each to achieve the distinctive look as part of the 30-step medal fabrication process. Each medal has a unique, hand-cropped section of the art, making it a one-of-a-kind treasure. A silk scarf printed with the master artwork will be presented to each medallist along with their medal, enabling them to see how their medal connects with those awarded to other athletes at the Games to make the whole design.

The Designers

Olympic Concept

Omer Arbel

In 2000, Arbel graduated with numerous honours from the University of Waterloo School of Architecture and subsequently apprenticed with several notable architects, including Enric Miralles, John and Patricia Patkau and Peter Busby.

Arbel, who is based in Vancouver, BC, began working as a freelance designer in 2003 focusing on conceptually motivated and materially explorative furniture and objects. Work produced during this period (most notably the 2.4 cast resin chair) facilitated opportunities that led to founding two companies in 2005, OAO (Omer Arbel Office) and Bocci. Both companies have achieved instant critical and commercial success at the highest levels of the design and architectural landscape.

Pieces by Arbel have won numerous yellow pencil, good design, ID magazine review, iF and Red Dot awards, have been accessioned into various notable private and institutional collections, and have been featured extensively in the prevalent design, architectural and popular media of our times. He is considered one of the leading young voices in the international architectural and design landscape.

Paralympic Concept

Corrine Hunt

Born in Alert Bay, British Columbia in 1959, Corrine has been creating contemporary art for more than 22 years that reflects the themes and traditions of her First Nations Komoyue and Tlingit heritage. Corrine's works include engraved gold and silver jewellery and accessories, custom furnishings in carved stainless steel and reclaimed wood, modern totem poles and other sculptural installations. A member of the Raven Gwa'wina clan from Ts'akis, a Komoyue village on Vancouver Island, Corrine's rich family history includes internationally renowned First Nations artists Henry, Richard and Tony Hunt, all of whom have influenced her art.

From the beginning of her career, Corrine has searched for unique ways to bring the stories of her First Nations culture to contemporary life. She is continually inventing and reinventing stories from her culture, honouring her roots and cultivating a refreshing artistic expression at the same time.

The engravings are not overly ornate; like poetry, they convey their message using as few lines as possible. Similarly, the custom furnishings combine materials that speak to old and new, and bring the concept of living culture into contemporary homes. Corrine began designing furniture and other installed art pieces in part because in First Nations households, adorned furnishings are part of daily life. Objects in the home are not only beautiful, they are also practical and infused with cultural significance. Corrine currently resides in Vancouver, BC.