Architects of Air (AoA) are really onto something.
Alan Parkinson, founder and designer and artistic director has built and toured over 500 exhibitions in more than 40 countries, sharing his ‘sense of wonder at the phenomenon of light’.
Inspired by natural forms, geometric solids, Islamic and Gothic architecture; each new creation is a maze of winding paths and domes where visitors may lose themselves in sensory bliss.
A luminarium takes between 4 to 6 months to build entirely by hand by a workforce of around 6 people.
Built entirely in AoA’s Nottingham workshop using a custom-made PVC unique to AoA. A luminarium will last for approximately 300 days of exhibition spread over 4 years, after which it is cut into pieces to be recycled.
The luminarium structure is designed with functionality in mind as a temporary building to include portability, accessibility, stability and a modularity to allow the structures to be reconfigured for different sites.
Daedalum takes it’s name from Daedalus. In Greek mythology, he was the father of Icarus and the architect of the labyrinth of King Minos of Crete.
Daedalum’s core element is a maze of 19 egg-shaped domes whose spatial arrangement create mysterious sight lines.
Walking in during daylight and experiencing the change of sound, light and air was a beautiful, euphoric encounter.
The many tunnels of varying size and light lent themselves to be laid in, bathed in and relaxed in. I felt an emotional state of hypnosis and psychedelic inebriation at one point as the intersecting eggs and volumes felt like they were distorting in shape and size.
The enormity of the structure is truly stirring and the 600 piece pattern of the Main Dome ceiling was inspired by Rome’s Pantheon and the Gustave Dore drawing of angels circling heavenward in Dante’s paradise.
I felt a true sense of enveloped protection while wandering through the tunnels; the sounds, the sights of people also drifting through the spaces.
Some lying face up absorbing the marvels of this creation, others curled in a corner experiencing this sensation with their child, or those just admiring the beauty and curiosity of Daedalus.
One note, while I absolutely love the fact that it is family friendly, would be to have a silent session for adults. That way one can explore Luminarium: Daedalum as a true liquid, resonated and calming experience.
Happy theatre travels…
This review also features on the Theatre Travels website – www.theatretravels.org