Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Architects of Air at Immerse

This huge Luminaria appeared on the Dr Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, Seneff Plaza for this year's Immerse. To me it looked like an odd space craft had landed or it looked like a spiked Madonna of Katie Perry outfit. Regardless they were colored like bright balloons. Since 1992 more than 3 million visitors in over 40 countries across 5 continents have been welcomed into Architects of Air’s monumental Luminaria, immersed in radiant color that comes simply from daylight shining through the fabric.

Designed by company founder Alan Parkinson, the Luminaria is inspired by natural forms, geometric solids, Islamic and Gothic architecture. Each new creation is a maze of winding paths and inspiring domes where the visitors may lose themselves in sensory bliss. Each section consists of opaque area and then translucent area that act like stained glass that glows bright in the strong Florida Sun. I imaging the set up must have resembled the raising of a circus tent.

I went to a media soft opening a few days before Immerse opened. I assumed that the plastic might not be conducive to the legs of my artist stool, So I sketched the domes from across the street. Media crowed into the yellow entry staging area and they each had to take off their shows and put them in racks for safe keeping while they explored inside. The various room structures seem to be zippered together like a sleeping bag. The media crowds had dispersed so I got to wander around inside with on crowds to add any sense of claustrophobia. Air conditioned air was pumped in to keep the structures full and comfortable. The round halls connected the various larger rooms in flowing lines and bright light. It was tempting to just sit and relax and read a book but I knew that the preview was drawing to a close.

I quickly found myself disoriented and decided to keep turning left figuring it would lead me back to the room I entered.  I didn't recognize the entry room but  the attendant opened a portal to let me back out into the real world. The attendants outside wanted to see my sketch and were appreciative of my efforts. I later earned that a ticket to wander inside cost $20, so I am more grateful for the chance to experience this structure firsthand. Should Architects of Air ever return I hope to allow time to sketch inside to capture people as they are mesmerized by the light and color of this organic flowing space.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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