Secret of the Nano

The new Nano facility, the Van Leeuwenhoek Laboratory, designed by DHV, has a contemporary look. Because of its relatively low height, it occupies a modest position on the campus of Delft University of Technology. However, within the building grand works on a tiny scale will take place. It is a magical world, where instruments are calibrated with the help of the stars.

Nanotechnology itself is an artwork in itself, on a tiny fraction of a millimetre. This is somewhat too small to make a lasting impression. Just like the well-known wisdom that a spider cannot be rescaled without penalty, because it would collapse through its legs, a nano object cannot be rescaled. Therefore, a free interpretation.


With the horizontal lines of the building on the background, two large cubes are dancing in the pond. Intimately intertwined, they support each other, just like TNO and Delft University of Technology. Each of the sides has 9 openings, which are filled with LEDs. Especially in the evening, the artwork becomes part of the stars. If the visitor walks on the bridge towards the entrance, a surprising gesture to the what occurs inside becomes visible. A small cube floats in the water. Also provided with LEDs, this small diamond has a clear visual relationship with the two larger cubes. This is the nano, the surprise generated by TNO and Delft University of Technology.

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Thursday May 14, 2009, Marijke de Goey unveiled her artwork Secret of the Nano at the Van Leeuwenhoek Laboratory in Delft.

The official opening took place on a bright sunny day, in the presence of a large number of invitees. The artwork consists out of two big open cubes wit LED lighting that dance in the pond in front of the new Van Leewenhoek Laboratory (VLL) in Delft. With the long horizontal lines of the VLL building as a backdrop, the two cubes support each other, in perfect balance. Intertwined like Delft University of Technology and TNO, which both make use of the building. When the evening falls, with its twinkling lights, the artwork becomes part of the starry sky. When the visitor enters the building via a small bridge, there is a wonderful surprise: in the water floats a small playful cube.

During the unveiling Marijke de Goey stated: "It is really nice to be asked by nanotechnology. Nanotechnology is a science which handles with very small particles: it is in fact a work of art at a millionth of a millimetre. You can not just rescale it. I thought that this strict VLL building could use something frivolous in the pond. So I have made two open cubes that intimate embrace each other, just as the perfect balance between Delft University of Technology and TNO.” The famous artist also quoted Einstein, who once stated: "logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." The Secret of the Nano has no lack of imagination or logic: all sides of the cubes are perforated by nine holes with LED. But how do you show something really small? Because nanotechnology is about very small particles. I first showed something rather big: the two cubes in the water, and a very small cube also equipped with LED. That is the artistic secret of the Nano.