Spinning tops: where art meets engineering

The spinning top that features in the movie Inception, used by Leonardo DiCaprio's character, Cobb, has become an iconic piece of cinematic objet d'art since the film's release in 2010. In this sci-fi thriller the spinning top is used as a totem, a device that helps establish whether Cobb is in his own reality, or an alternate one (if it continues to spin impossibly, Cobb knows it's the latter). And when the movie reaches its dramatic climax, it's this humble spinning top that provides one of cinema's greatest cliff-hangers.

Fast forward to 2016, and a burgeoning interest, in some cases, an obsession, in the design, craft, and physics behind spinning tops has emerged. Inspired by Inception, these beautifully crafted tops are now being produced across the world, by artisans who are looking to create an object that excels in functionality and engineering, whilst also being a stunning piece of art in its own right. (A company called ForeverSpin has even recreated the Inception top.)

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Dan Oliver

Over the last 20 years, Dan has edited a number of print magazines and websites, including Computer Arts, 3D World and ImagineFX, and has written for publications including the Sunday Times, the Guardian, the Manchester Evening News, Manchester United Magazine, T3, and many more. He is currently the digital editor of Creative Bloq's sister magazine, Wallpaper*.