Titanium, wood and granite: Glasgow 2014’s iconic Commonwealth Baton is revealed

Baton-5242-HiRes smallA hand-crafted Baton made of titanium, wood and granite which will travel throughout the Commonwealth representing Glasgow and Scotland ahead of next year’s Commonwealth Games was revealed to the public for the first time Friday, August 16.

The beautiful creation lies at the heart of the Queen’s Baton Relay, a well-loved tradition of the Commonwealth Games which seeks to unite the two billion citizens of the Commonwealth in a celebration of sport, diversity and peace.

It will carry, innovatively display and illuminate a personal message from Her Majesty The Queen calling the athletes of the Commonwealth to Glasgow for the start of the Games.

The Baton’s journey officially begins on October 9 at a ceremony in Buckingham Palace when the Queen places her message within the Baton. The Baton then journeys across the Commonwealth – including all the Home Nations and territories – before arriving back in Scotland in June next year.

Over 288 days the Baton will travel more than a hundred thousand miles, visiting all 71 nations and territories of the Commonwealth – including being the first to visit Rwanda.

It will be carried by thousands of batonbearers on its epic journey, all chosen or nominated by their own nation to participate. On its final leg, the Baton will travel the length and breadth of Scotland on the way to its ultimate destination, the Opening Ceremony, where the Queen’s message will be read and the Games declared open.

The Baton and Queen’s Baton Relay team will arrive in the Virgin Islands from Anguilla on April 2, 2014 and depart for Jamaica on April 5, 2014.

The Baton’s design has been a closely-guarded secret until its official unveiling at Glasgow’s Riverside Museum on the banks of the River Clyde, when it was formally presented to Lord Smith of Kelvin, Chairman of Glasgow 2014, by Scotland’s most successful Commonwealth athlete Allan Wells, recently announced as a Games Ambassador.

The former Scottish Olympic and Commonwealth Gold sprinter and winner of the 100m Olympic title at the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games, was the final batonbearer at the last Commonwealth Games on Scottish soil in Edinburgh in 1986. 
Allan will also be among the first batonbearers for the Glasgow 2014 Queen’s Baton Relay when it leaves from Buckingham Palace later this year.

The wave-shaped Zaha Hadid-designed Riverside Museum was a fitting place for this memorable occasion as its collection celebrates Glasgow and Scotland’s adventurous past through the ships, trains, trams and cars that were manufactured by Scots and transported hundreds and thousands of Scots across the globe.

The Baton symbolises Glasgow and Scotland’s culture, history and innovation in its design and construction by combining leading-edge technology with traditional skills and craft. Created by Glasgow-based Designers, 4c Design Limited and made primarily from titanium and wood, the Baton features four main elements in its design;

The illuminated Queen’s message
The heart of the Baton design centres on the Queen’s message, which will be placed inside a transparent cylinder and housed in a pure titanium latticework frame. The message forms the visual core of the Baton design – illuminated from within by LED lights, yet unreadable until the Opening Ceremony.

Baton-5320-V1HiRes smallThe lattice frame

The titanium lattice frame takes inspiration from Glasgow’s rich industrial heritage and the architectural beauty of Charles Rennie Mackintosh design. A cutting-edge ‘Direct Metal Laser Sintering’ process was used to create its striking organic form, fusing together multiple layers of pure titanium powder three hundredths of a millimetre thick with a focused laser beam – essentially 3D printing.

Baton-5399-HiRes smallThe handle
The baton’s handle is made from Elm sourced from the grounds of Garrison House on the Isle of Cumbrae – a tribute to Scotland’s natural resources. It was constructed using a boat-building technique called bird-mouthing, traditionally used to make masts for ships. Light, strong and durable, the handle was created by craftsmen at GalGael, a Glasgow social enterprise that teaches traditional skills.

Baton-5326-HiRes smallThe Granite gemstone

The Baton contains a granite ‘gemstone’ which will be gifted to each nation and territory during the visit. Housed at the very top of the Baton, it is released only by opening a clever mechanism, inspired by historic box puzzles. The gemstones, made of granite unique to Scotland, were sourced from Ailsa Craig in the Firth of Clyde, crafted by Kays of Scotland, world-famous Curling stone manufacturers, and embellished by jewellers from The Glasgow School of Art.

The Baton made its dramatic arrival to the unveiling event along the River Clyde on the fastest electric boat in the UK – aptly named ‘Bolt’ – accompanied by Clyde, the Official Glasgow 2014 Mascot and a security team before being unveiled to a cheering crowd.

Also revealed were the official Queen’s Baton Relay uniforms to be worn by thousands of batonbearers who will have the honour of carrying the Baton, the symbol of the Games, as it travels through the Commonwealth.

The Baton will be relayed on its journey by Emirates, the Official Airline of the Queen’s Baton Relay and an official Partner of Glasgow 2014.

The uniforms have been designed by Glasgow-based international sportswear company Trespass, the Official Casual Uniform Provider to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Workforce.

This evening it was also revealed that Scots adventurer Mark Beaumont will cover the journey of the Queen’s Baton Relay for a series of programmes across the BBC network.

Lord Smith of Kelvin, Glasgow 2014 Chairman said:

“The Queen’s Baton Relay is a great tradition of the Commonwealth Games and a wonderful opportunity for Glasgow and Scotland to share our culture and heritage with the citizens of the Commonwealth.

“Glasgow 2014’s Queen’s Baton is not only an incredibly stylish object, but is an example of cutting-edge, contemporary Scottish design that tells so many stories about our nation. It is a symbol of our friendship and the warm welcome that awaits the Commonwealth Family here next year. As the Baton leaves a piece of Scottish granite in every nation it visits, I hope it also leaves a sense of our excitement and determination to make Glasgow 2014 an outstanding experience for all who attend.”

HRH Prince Imran President of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), said:

“The Queen’s Baton symbolises the amazing international journey to every Commonwealth Games and brings all elements of the Commonwealth values together to celebrate a very unique tradition.

“I am very much looking forward to seeing the Baton on its global journey and building momentum to next summer when the athletes of the Commonwealth will come to Glasgow for what I’m sure will be a memorable and welcoming Games experience.”
Olympic and Commonwealth legend Allan Wells MBE said:

“As the final runner of the Queen’s Baton Relay at the last Commonwealth Games on Scottish soil in Edinburgh in 1986, the Baton and what it symbolises is incredibly special for me.

“Thousands of batonbearers will, like I did, have the honour of playing a very special part in the inspirational journey to the Opening Ceremony and I can’t wait to see this Baton begin its epic journey around the Commonwealth with the spirit of Glasgow and Scotland at its heart.”

Baton designer William Mitchell said:

“It’s been both a privilege and an honour to design the Queen’s Baton for the Glasgow 2014 Games. This commission has been a wonderful opportunity for the team at 4c Design to bring all their different skills to the table to create a design that combines inspiration and innovation, and that will promote Glasgow, Scotland and our culture across the globe.

“It’s been an exciting journey and one which we could not have taken without the amazing contribution from many talented individuals and companies here in Scotland, and from the team at Glasgow 2014. Collaboration has been pivotal to what you see before you and we now look forward to following the Baton’s journey. We hope that people across the Commonwealth will enjoy seeing the Baton as much as we have enjoyed designing it.”

Michael Cavanagh, Chairman of Commonwealth Games Scotland said:

“We are hugely impressed with the design of the Baton that beautifully links both traditional and contemporary aspects of Scotland in a clever and innovative way which is truly awe-inspiring.

“The Queen’s Baton is the ultimate symbol of the Commonwealth Games and gives an important signal to Scottish athletes that the Games are within touching distance and will spur them on in their quest for selection. As the host Commonwealth Games Association for Glasgow 2014, we are looking forward with great anticipation and excitement to the final leg of the Baton’s journey here in Scotland.”

Commonwealth Games Minister Shona Robison said:

“This Baton, designed and manufactured in Glasgow, is a fitting symbol to carry the Queen’s message to the athletes of the Commonwealth. On its journey around the 71 nations and territories of the Commonwealth, the Baton will give two billion people a taste of the history, innovation and creativity of Scotland.”

Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said:

“The Baton was designed and crafted in Glasgow, and it was inspired by the city’s industrial and architectural heritage, so it’s fitting that it was revealed at the Riverside Museum on the banks of the Clyde.
“It was from here that Glasgow’s links with the Commonwealth began. The Baton will be a perfect symbol of the city’s present-day global reach as it makes its way around the world, uniting two billion people through the Queen’s Baton Relay.”