Sochi 2014 spectators to become the face of the Games on 'Mount Rushmore of the digital age'

London designer Asif Khan's "MegaFaces" to play a prominent part in the Winter Olympics

Visitors to the Sochi Winter Olympics will have their faces immortalised on a “Mount Rushmore of the digital age” when a giant 3D piece of “inclusive architecture”, created by a London designer, is unveiled.

Created by Asif Khan, “MegaFaces”, a kinetic and interactive structure that displays the faces of participants as constantly changing three-dimensional portraits, will tower over the Olympic park.

A 3D photo booth captures five images of the visitor’s face simultaneously from  different angles. They will then be displayed on the building’s skin for 20 seconds as an eight-metre image on the giant “pin screen”, which incorporates 10,000 telescopic cylinders.

Read more: Clare Balding and Charles Dance lead BBC's digitally-enabled Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics coverage

Participants are given a card telling then what time their gigantic reflection will hove into view. The faces will continually form, disappear and morph into a new image.

Organisers hope the “MegaFace” will allow 170,000 people to become the “face of the Olympics” when the Winter games open in Russia next month.

Khan, whose studio is in Bethnal Green, is known for his “magical realist” designs. His Beat Box Pavilion for Coca-Cola during the London Olympics incorporated 200 red and white interlocking plastic cushions and embedded sound technology that visitors could play like a musical instrument.

“MegaFaces” will stand in the Olympic pavilion of MegaFon, the Russian telecoms company and partner of the Winter games. “The concept is to make people the face of the Olympics,” said Khan, described by the New York Times as one of "Five Designers to Watch in 2011" and an architect who places “the future of human beings” at the centre of his work.

Khan said: “For thousands of years people have used portraiture to record their history on the landscape, on buildings and through public art. Even in the digital age we still use emoticons when texting to show how we feel. The concept for our digital Mount Rushmore is that the human face is still the strongest way of conveying emotion.” The concept also references the prominent use of faces in Soviet artistic propaganda.

The system will take approximately one minute to calculate a three-dimensional model from the five individual pictures taken in the photo booths.

Additional 3D photo booths sited at MegaFon retail stores around Russia will allow people who cannot enter the games to send an “avatar” to the Sochi structure. They can watch the results on a website and download a permanent video of their transformation.

After the games, “MegaFaces” is expected to travel to a prominent location in Moscow. Khan said that different versions may be produced for other international sporting and cultural gatherings, depending upon its reception.

Valentin Spiess, the CEO of Swiss engineering firm AG, who worked with Khan on the pavilion’s facade design, said: “The difficulty was the development of a system that would meet Asif’s requirements of the project in relation to speed, usability and image quality. The process will be as fast and simple as using a commercial photo booth.”

Khan’s previous installations include Cloud, a floating roof made from helium gas, water and soap and Parhelia, an indoor ice halo recreated in American East Coast became a highlight of Design Miami 2012.

Arts & Entertainment
Jessica Pare as Megan Draper and Jon Hamm as the troubled, melancholy Don Draper
tvAnd six other questions we hope Mad Men series seven will answer
Arts & Entertainment
Heads up: Andy Scott's The Kelpies in Falkirk
art

What do gigantic horse heads tell us about Falkirk?

Arts & Entertainment
The London Mozart Players is the longest-running chamber orchestra in the UK
musicThreatened orchestra plays on, managed by its own members
Arts & Entertainment
Seeing red: James Dean with Sal Mineo in 'Rebel without a Cause'
film

'Rebel without a Cause', 'East of Eden' and 'Giant' re-released

VIDEO
Arts & Entertainment
TV The second episode of the hit HBO featured a surprise for viewers
Arts & Entertainment
artGraffiti legend posts picture of work – but no one knows where it is
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Arts & Entertainment
A close-up of Tom of Finland's new Finnish stamp
art

Finnish Postal Service praises the 'self irony and humour' of the drawings

Arts & Entertainment
Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in 2002's Die Another Day
film

The actor has confessed to his own insecurities

Life & Style
Green fingers: a plot in East London
TV

Allotments are the focus of a new reality show

Arts & Entertainment
Myleene Klass attends the Olivier awards 2014

Oliviers 2014Theatre stars arrive at Britain's most prestigious theatre awards
Arts & Entertainment
Stars of The Book of Mormon by Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park

Oliviers 2014Blockbuster picked up Best Musical and Best Actor in a Musical
Arts & Entertainment
Lesley Manville with her Olivier for Best Actress for her role in 'Ghosts'

Oliviers 2014Actress thanked director Richard Eyre for a stunning production
Arts & Entertainment
Rory Kinnear in his Olivier-winning role as Iago in Othello

Oliviers 2014Actor beat Jude Law and Tom Hiddleston to take the award
Arts & Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch is best known for this roles in Sherlock and Star Trek
TV

Arts & Entertainment
theatreAll hail the temporary venue that has shaken things up at the National Theatre
Arts & Entertainment
musicShe is candid, comic and coming our way
Arts & Entertainment
booksHer new novel is about people seeking where they belong
Arts & Entertainment
TV
Arts & Entertainment
tvGrace Dent on The Crimson Field
Arts & Entertainment
Gian Sammarco plays Adrian Mole in 'The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole'
books

Sue Townsend's much-loved character will live on
Arts & Entertainment
Kylie has helped to boost viewing figures for the talent show
TV

Kylie Minogue quits The Voice UK

Arts & Entertainment
Chiwetel Ejiofor, Favour Asikpa and Thandie Newton in 'Half of a Yellow Sun'
film

Review: Half of A Yellow Sun

Arts & Entertainment
Andrew Motion would send 'Great Expectations' by Charles Dickens
booksLeading writers protest against government restrictions on prisoners receiving books
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

    Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

    Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
    The pain of IVF

    The pain of IVF

    As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal
    Supersize art

    Is big better? Britain's latest super-sized art

    The Kelpies are the latest addition to a growing army of giant sculptures. But naysayers are asking what a pair of gigantic horse heads tells us about Falkirk?
    James Dean: Back on the big screen

    James Dean: Back on the big screen

    As 'Rebel without a Cause' is re-released, Geoffrey Macnab reveals how its star perfected his moody act
    Catch-22: How the cult classic was adapted for the stage

    How a cult classic was adapted for the stage

    More than half a century after it was published 'Catch-22' will make its British stage debut next week
    10 best activity books for children

    10 best activity books for children

    Keep little ones busy this bank holiday with one of these creative, educational and fun books
    Arsenal 3 West Ham United 1: Five things we learnt from the battle between the London sides

    Five things we learnt from Arsenal's win over West Ham

    Arsenal still in driving seat for Champions League spot and Carroll can make late charge into England’s World Cup squad
    Copa del Rey final: Barcelona are paying for their complacency and not even victory over Real Madrid will put things right

    Pete Jenson on the Copa del Rey final

    Barcelona are paying for their complacency and not even victory over Real Madrid will put things right
    Rafa to reign? Ten issues clay courts will serve up this season

    Rafa to reign? Ten issues clay courts will serve up this season

    With the tennis circus now rolling on to the slowest surface, Paul Newman highlights who'll be making the headlines – and why
    Exclusive: NHS faces financial disaster in 2015 as politicians urged to find radical solution

    NHS faces financial disaster in 2015

    Politicians urged to find radical solution
    Ukraine crisis: How spontaneous are the pro-Russian protests breaking out in Ukraine’s east?

    Ukraine crisis

    How spontaneous are the pro-Russian protests breaking out in Ukraine’s east?
    A History of the First World War in 100 moments: The first execution at the Tower of London for 167 years

    The first execution at the Tower of London for 167 years

    A history of the First World War in 100 moments
    Fires could turn Amazon rainforest into a desert as human activity and climate change threaten ‘lungs of the world’, says study

    New threat to the Amazon rainforest:

    Fires that scorch the ‘lungs of the Earth’
    Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City: And the winner of this season’s Premier League title will be...

    Who’s in box seat now? The winner of the title will be ...

    Who is in best shape to take the Premier League prize?