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Dark beauty: Building made of blackest black material planned for Winter Olympics

The building will be a “schism in space”, so visitors can feel the “void of indefinite depth and possibility”.

science Updated: Nov 23, 2017 14:03 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
2018 Winter Olympics,South Korea,Vantablack
Vantablack reflects more than 99% of the light that hits its surface. (Vantablack/

A building that is to be unveiled at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea will be colourless. But to the human eye, it will appear to be the darkest black, especially when contrasted with snow.

A British architect, Asif Khan, will use Vantablack -- a super black material that reflects so little light that it’s described as the closest thing to a black hole -- to build structures for the Olympics, reports CNN.

The building will be a “schism in space”, says Khan, adding that visitors will see it when they enter the Olympic Park.

“It will be like you’re looking into the depths of space itself... As you approach the building that star field will grow to fill your entire field of view, and then you’ll enter as though you’re being absorbed into a cloud of blackness.” he told CNN.

Vantablack has startling optical effects -- when coated over three-dimensional objects, it is difficult to discern surface features of the object because it is so black.

Khan hopes this blurring of shapes will be a philosophical experience for people if they feel the “void of indefinite depth and possibility”.

Vantablack has been recognised by the Guinness World Records as the blackest man-made substance but it isn’t a black paint or a pigment. It is made of millions of tubes of carbon that absorb light as it bounces in between. It means the Vantablack absorbs 99.96% of the light that hits its surface.

Launched in 2014, Vantablack was originally created for scientific experiments in space, but it has since found its use among artists and designers, too. Last year, Swiss MCT Watches and artist Anish Kapoor presented a $95,000 wrist watch that has Vantablack featured in the dial’s background. It gives the illusion that the steel grey arms of the watch are popping out of the darkness.

First Published: Nov 23, 2017 14:02 IST