Stepping inside the Miracoco luminarium, you can’t help but feel like an alien on acid. A large inflatable structure built by a group of British artists at the Long Center For the Performing Arts in Austin, Texas, the luminarium is a labyrinth of dome-shaped rooms that reflect kaleidoscopic colors, as ambient music pipes in overhead. The really amazing part: the structure doesn’t use any electricity. It’s lit exclusively by the sun.
When the sun hits the outside of the luminarium’s walls, it casts bright, colorful light indoors. This mesmerizing visual display is a byproduct of how the structure is made: it’s built with multicolored, PVC-like plastic that’s just translucent enough to let sun illuminate the ceilings and walls.
In the luminarium, visitors are encouraged to do whatever they feel like. Some lie on the floor and gaze at the ceiling. Children chase each other from room to room. Some people, a staffer tells me, do yoga. And as you might imagine, Instagrammed selfies abound.
The increasingly elaborate luminaria built by Architects of Air were the brainchild of founder Alan Parkinson, who started building inflatable, walk-in environments in the mid-1980s. Miracocco, the group’s newest luminarium, ended its weeklong stay in Austin on Sunday. So if you want to immerse yourself in a psychedelic space castle, you’ll have to keep an eye on their website for future tour dates.