Take a trip through space in Pyeongchang
Pyeongchang has found itself at the centre of a media storm as South Korea play host to the 2018 Winter Olympics. Battered by high winds and freezing temperatures, the county has provided an absorbing and challenging stage for participants. But aside from the compelling performance of the world’s greatest winter sport athletes, there is another intriguing feature of the games that has captured the attention of spectators.
Nestled between purpose built ice rinks and tracks is a striking pavilion with an awe-inspiring façade, created for Hyundai's 'global mobility initiative'. The building, which has been designed by British architect Asif Khan, is considered the ‘blackest building in the world’ and is coated with a rare substance which absorbs 99.9 per cent of all light.
The substance used in the build is called Vantablack, or VBx2, and has been manufactured by Surrey NanoSystems – a UK based industrial equipment supplier. The cutting edge material provides a matte finish that some have compared to a black hole due to its incredible appearance.
The pavilion in Pyeongchang, sponsored by Hyundai, has also been fitted with light rods that twinkle much like stars in the same position they would be viewed from the earth, aesthetically symbolising Light and Space movement and making it feel as if you are in space as you travel through.
When asked to describe his creation Khan commented that it is a “window looking into the depths of outer space. As you walk around it, it gives the effect of parallax. It looks–and feels–like you are revolving around stars suspended in space.”
Not only a wonder to look at, the Vantablack material has many potential future uses – including in space, technology, art and design. Whilst the product will never be available on the high street the creators hope that it will be utilised by specialists.
They commented: “Vantablack VBx 2 was created for large scale spray application in areas such as architecture, ceiling blackouts, controlled lighting environments and other places where designers wish to create unique visual spaces, or control reflected light in ways that have previously been impossible on a large scale.”