Yurt of Light

At Expo 2017 in Astana, the Transparent Spokes of the British Pavilion Shine When Touched

The universe was formed 13.8 billion years ago. At that moment all energy and matter was in the same place at the same time. Everything, including life on earth, is comprised of this archaic energy. I wanted to find a way to express this relationship to our visitors and explore how energy is being continually harnessed and balanced around us.
Asif Khan, architect, worldarchitecture.org, 30 March 2017

In the Cosmos of Energy

The interactive installation in the British Pavilion at Expo 2017 confronts over half a million visitors with the complex relationships between nature and humanity in a playful way.

The Yurt

The heart of the pavilion is a light sculpture inspired by the architecture of Kazakh yurts. A light touch is all it takes to make the transparent spokes of the sculpture glow. After a few moments, the light fades. Visitors enter into an organic exchange with the architectural body and become part of an eventful play of light.

The 360° Panorama

The yurt is encircled by a 60-metre-long panorama. It displays computer-generated landscapes reproduce in great detail the relationships between the sun, the earth, and our climate. Surrounded by changing weather, the projected images also react to the streams of visitors to convey a wide range of moods.

Successful Cooperation

iart was the key partner for the design, development, and implementation of the transparent yurt and the panoramic projection, both designed by the British architect Asif Khan. Musician Brian Eno composed the soundtrack and Catherine Heymans, Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Edinburgh, developed the scientific context.

Technical Data

  • Exhibition area 2200 m2
  • Yurt made of 200 radial spokes of acrylic glass
  • Capacitive sensor and light-emitting diodes in the base of each spoke
  • 360° panorama consisting of 22 projections
The installation combines innovative design, science, technology, music, and light into an experience that appeals to all the senses and invites us to contemplate the impact that human civilisation and its activity have on the world around us.
Jury for the XAVER Award, Silver for Best Supplier Services, 2018
  • Opening


  • Location


  • Clients

    UK Trade & InvestmentNüssli Group

  • Partners

    Asif KhanAKT IIAtelier 10

  • Services

    Technical PlanningPrototypingSystem DevelopmentSoftware DevelopmentSystem IntegrationProcess ManagementRequirements ManagementMechanics DevelopmentOperationInteraction Design

  • Award

    • XAVER-Award

  • Photos & Video Footage

    © Iñigo Bujedo Aguirre and iart

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