Borrowing its forms from a futuristic space station and its visuals from a ’60s acid trip, a family of massive inflatable installations by Architects of Air is like a high-concept bouncy castle for all ages. Peer inside the pillowy innards and you can see grown adults burrowing into the billowing neon tunnels, or gawking in quiet amazement at the stained glass-like domes.
Architects of Air specializes in “luminaria,” gigantic, explorable sculptures which allow people to see color and light in a new way. This particular luminarium is named Mirazozo, and was built outside the Sydney Opera House last year. It’s one of five luminaria currently traveling the world, including one which recently opened in Annecy, France.
For almost a decade, the firm has been building these pneumatic neon Hobbit holes, mounting 500 installations in an astounding 37 countries. Founder Alan Parkinson originated the concept in the ’80s and collaborated with a manufacturer in their hometown of Nottingham, U.K. to produce a proprietary PVC plastic only used on these inflatables.
Assembly of a luminarium can take about four hours and reach a size of up to 1,000 square meters. The different components are zipped together and can be inflated to its full size — with domes about 10 meters high — in as little as 20 minutes. Each structure’s peaks and domes along its exterior results in a completely different experience inside, depending on how the sunlight is filtered and sliced. It’s a simple concept, yet due to the dramatic interaction of color and geometry, the effect is simply breathtaking.