When Darkness Offers Enlightement

At this years Winter Olympics, Asif Khan’s pavilion is known to be the darkest building in the world. But somehow, there is something so enlightening about it.

Run by Hyundai as part of a mobility effort, the dark pavilion hosts both darkness and light, the two extremes of our cosmos. It goes from the massive universe to the smallest unit, an atom.

The pavilion is made from a matte black material that takes in almost all of the light that touches its surface.  This takes guests into a void where all senses are lost, no dimension, no direction.

Thousands of white lights appear to float on the surface that accent the 10 meter high ceiling, giving a feeling of looking up into outer space.

When entering, there is a water installation that is multisensory and hydrophobic. It is situated in a white environment that makes for a unique contrast between the dark black exterior.

Those who enter the pavilion connect to the installation through a variety of sensors that influence the pace of the 25,000 drops of water that are released per minute.

The individual drops that are collided, joined and split throughout the engraved landscape concentrate in a main lake which is both drained and filled regularly.

Hydrogen, the element both in the stars and in water drops is the hint that the pavilion gives off to Hyundai’s hope for a future with a hydrogren powered world.
The contrast between the interior and the exterior, the black and white, and the universe and atom make visitors become more aware of their personal existence and how they fit into the universe.

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