Architect Asif Khan has unveiled a pavilion at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games in South Korea, described as the “darkest building on earth.”
Located inside Olympic Park, the temporary structure measures 10-meter-high (32.8 feet). Asif Khan spray-painted the structure with Vantablack VBx2, a substance that absorbs over 99 percent of light. Vantablack VBx2 is a sprayable version of Vantablack pigment, which British artist Anish Kapoor controversially acquired exclusive rights for in 2016.
Because of the super-black spray-paint coating the pavilion, it is nearly impossible for the human eye to make out the contours of the building. Rods tipped with tiny white lights protrude from the “super-black” parabolic curves of all four sides of the pavilion, giving the impression of stars suspended against the darkness of space.
In a statement, Khan described his vision, “From a distance, the structure has the appearance of a window looking into the depths of outer space. As you approach it, this impression grows to fill your entire field of view. So on entering the building, it feels as though you are being absorbed into a cloud of blackness.”
Inside the pavilion is a new dimension. A large white room clad in Corian creates an immersive water installation, in which 25,000 water droplets are released every minute and travel along carved channels until reaching a central pool.
The 35-meter by 35-meter building was commissioned by Hyundai Motor as part of its global art initiative, with the pavilion’s space theme aligning with the car manufacturer’s latest technology: a Hydrogen Fuel Cell vehicle.
The “stars” on the outside represent the chemical element on a cosmic level – gaseous balls shining due to the thermonuclear fusion of hydrogen into helium at their core.
Inside the pavilion, the liquid embodies hydrogen at a more human scale, as two atoms of a hydrogen bond with one oxygen atom to form water.
Client: Hyundai Motor Company
Design: Asif Khan
Main contractor: Hyundai Engineering
Interactive engineer: iart
Facade coating: Surrey NanoSystems
Structural engineer: AKTII
Environmental engineer: Atelier Ten
Environmental sound: Why Do Birds?
Interior contractor: GL
Local architect: USD
Agency: Innocean Worldwide
Asif Khan reveals super-dark Vantablack pavilion for Winter Olympics 2018 via dezeen