London Olympics has domino effect with three years to go ...

Britain celebrates 'volunteering ethos' as 2012 Olympics draw closer

As any child building a sandcastle will tell you, there are few things more satisfying than toiling for hours on end to create something, only to destroy it with glee once it's finished.

Which might explain why 600 volunteers gathered in east London yesterday to build painstakingly – and then topple – an enormous trail of concrete dominoes.

More than 12,000 breeze blocks were used to create the giant moving sculpture which began in Mile End Park, wound its way four miles through the Isle of Dogs, crossed under the Thames and ended up at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich.

The bizarre spectacle was one of more than 750 events held across the country to celebrate the fact that, from today the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics is just three years away.

Keen to drum up excitement for the games, the Olympics organisers have organised "Open Days" for the past two years to mark the moment we get a year closer to hosting the world's largest sporting event. More than 700,000 people are thought to have attended this year's Open Day, which was designed to encourage a volunteer ethos that will be very much in demand once the games come to Britain.

The brains behind the concrete domino trail were artists at the Station House Opera, a performance company based in London's Whitechapel, which won a £40,000 commission from the Bank of America to create an art installation which would encourage locals in the five East London boroughs hosting the Olympics to participate in public art.

The group specialises in using concrete breeze blocks to create moving sculptures and yesterday's trail was the largest outdoor installation they have done to date. "We wanted to create something that would be participatory and showcase all the different bits of east London," said Hadrian Garrard, the producer of Create09, an arts festival hosted by the five Olympic boroughs to showcase local artistic talent.

"The dominoes ran through a real cross-section of east London, from historic buildings like the naval college at Greenwich to run-down housing estates."

For the organisers, the biggest challenge was to find a way of getting the dominoes under the Thames and through the Greenwich Foot Tunnel, which runs from the southern tip of the Isle of Dogs and emerges next to the now-charred remains of the Cutty Sark. "Getting the concrete blocks to go down the stairs wasn't a problem, but we had to use some rather ingenious wooden widgets to get them to topple up the staircase at the opposite end," said Mr Garrard.

"It worked out in the end. The best thing about installations like this is that they encourage vast swathes of people who might not normally be interested in public art to join in."

This weekend's event is likely to have been the largest breeze-block domino run ever done. The record for the largest toppling of ordinary dominoes was set last November in the Netherlands, at the annual Domino Festival.

10 things you didn't know about London 2012

*The 10,000 tonnes of tubular steel being used for the Olympic Stadium could end up being shipped over to the winners of the 2016 bid – especially if it is Chicago (who have already expressed an interest in the material)

*The set-piece, 200m bridge linking the centre of Stratford in east London to the heart of the Olympic Park will be lined on both sides with boxes for birds and bats.

*If Christine Ohuruogu wins gold in the women's 400m, she will break the record for the shortest distance between birthplace and site of Olympic victory. She was born in Newham, less than a mile away.

*The best view of the Olympic Park is from a nondescript, 14-storey residential tower block called Holden Point. It's about a mile from Stratford station and if you want to take a look book an appointment with Newham Council.

*All the toilets and road signs on the biggest construction site in Europe are being powered by small scale solar panels and wind turbines.

*Weymouth, one of the Olympic sailing venues, has been complete since November 2008.

*Half a million people need to get in and out of the Olympic Park every single day, and organisers intend them all to use public transport, walk or cycle. Cars are in effect going to be banished from Stratford from mid-2012.

*£100m has been spent on Stratford station to treble its size so that one train will arrive in the Olympic Park every 15 seconds, with 12 Javelin trains passing through Stratford International every hour.

*Apart from having its capacity reduced from 80,000 to 25,000 after the Games, London's stadium will be the lightest ever, and a fraction of the weight of the Bird's Nest.

*The undulating roof of Zaha Hadid's Aquatics Centre will be the architectural flagship of the Games, has unlikely green credentials: its 3,500 square metres are intended as "living space" to promote "biodiversity".

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Coordinator

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager - Midlands

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - 3-4 Month Fixed Contract - £30-£35k pro rata

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a 3-4 month pro rata fi...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £26,000+

£16000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Telesales Executive is requir...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map