Asif Khan’s Vantablack Winter Olympics Pavilion Absorbs Light


In 2014, the blackest material ever was produced. It was called Vantablack and it is capable of absorbing 99.96 percent of light in it. Using the Vantablack, a designer Asif Khan has created a pavilion for the Winter Olympics which is commissioned by Hyundai. When the spray paint form of Vantablack was developed by Surrey Nanosystems in 2016, a lot of controversies quickly spread. Anish Kapoor, a UK artist collaborated with the company to gain exclusive rights to the non-reflective pigment for artistic uses.

The first artistic use of Vantablack spray paint is done by Asif Khan. It is exciting to see that how covering a 3D structure completely into the paint can turn it into a completely flat object. To enhance the illusion further, Khan planted many LED lights in the curved surface and created a kind of starfield effect.

Inside the pavilion is a huge white room which has a giant water installation. The system installed emits 25,000 water droplets every minute. Each droplet travels through a minuscule landscape which is designed in such a way that it resembles a picture of a city viewed from space. The entire experience shifts the viewers’ sense of scale. It moves from the astronomical starfield outside to a planet viewed from above. Khan explained the overall concept saying, “In the project, I wanted to move from the scale of the cosmos to the scale of water droplets in a few steps. The droplets contain the same hydrogen from the beginning of the universe as the stars.”