The Mirazozo Luminarium — a giant inf latable structure consisting of a colorful jumble of paths and rooms — will be set up on the UCSB Faculty Club lawn from today until Thursday.
The luminarium, a product of the company Architects of Air, provides a visually stunning experience by using a unique type of plastic to produce unusual combinations of colors and a fluid structural design visible as visitors walk through. The exhibit is hosted by Associated Students Program Board and free to the pub- lic, though donations to specified charities are encouraged.
Architects of Air currently has five such traveling luminaria; the Mirazozo contains the largest center dome and has toured as far as the Sydney Opera House.
Architects of Air founder Alan Parkinson said he aims to use the design and architecture of the structure to convey an eye-opening artis- tic experience.
“I have a desire with each structure to explore how to improve the experience for the visitor through manipulating the different ele- ments — the journey, the forms, the space, the geometric themes — and to arrive at something that is a vessel for an optimum experience of the discovery of light,” Parkinson said in an email. “Using different colored panels of translucent vinyl has the same effect as mixing paints on an artist’s palette.” Parkinson said he used combinations of four different colored panels to blend natural light together in various ways, an idea inspired by “Islamic architecture, Archimedean solids and gothic cathedrals.”
UCSB art history and architecture professor Welter M. Volker said the origins of inflatable architecture such as the luminarium can be traced back to the counterculture move- ment of the 1960s. Volker said these types of structures were meant to challenge the boundaries of traditional architecture.
“Inflatable architecture was almost anti-authoritarian,” Volker said. “Part of the idea is to create, quite artificially, an environment which allows you to sort of experience that the human body and the human mind doesn’t operate simply with one sense only.”
Volker said the luminarium is an example of a ‘total envi- ronment’ structure — a type of architecture in which the creator aims to control almost every aspect of the viewer’s experience.
“Architecture is not something which we only see and which we can only measure in terms of dimensions, or in terms of height or, if you want, in the terms of the weight of the building,” Volker said. “We experience architecture also by what are the surfaces, what are the colors and what is the sound of architecture.”
Cultural Arts & Lectures Coordinator Dro Goods, a member of ASPB, said she is glad the exhibit was made to be inclusive.
“It’s wheelchair-accessible and embraces everyone in the community,” Goods said. “I’m excited to see the faces of the people who experience it, and to hear what their feedback is after.”
The Mirazozo Luminarium will be open to visitors from 12 to 6 p.m. Non-cash donations will be encouraged to Soles4Souls and the A.S. Food Bank.
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