SEE | Daedalum, the phenomenon of light in an inflatable sculpture lifestyle
The British Architects of Air studio showcases this itinerant sculpture which immerses visitors into a world of light and sound effects.
Daedalum, the most pictorial luminaire of the more than seven that the company makes, was present at the Greenwich + Docklands International Festival, where it was positioned as the new architecture phenomenon for the experience.
The mastery of photography, a technique which he already had under control at eleven, presented Alan Parkinson with a new way of understanding the phenomenon of light. In 1992, the British designer founded his own studio, Architects of Air, whose star project, Luminaria, combines inflatable architecture and multisensory design. Through an itinerant program, Parkinson installs inflatable luminaires which immerse visitors into a maze of light and colour. The secret lies in how light passes through the luminaire fabric, generating a visual effect in which the colours are mixed and the objects seem to be transformed.
The ‘Luminaria’ experience is personalized. Once inside, each person is free to explore the installation following their very own map, or they can just sit back and enjoy the visual phenomenon in a relaxing way.
The luminaires by Architects of Air are modular, and occupy an area of 1000m2. Music, theatre, science and dance festivals, art and design centres or events related to architecture and design have already opted for its installation as an activity attached to the program of activities. Last June, Daedalum, one of the eight luminaries Parkinson owns, was part of the Greenwich + Docklands International Festival at the Royal Albert Dock in London. Since its creation, more than 3 million people from some 40 countries have attended Luminaria. From “walking on a window,” to a futuristic space station, each person has their own version of what the experience suggests.
“One of the best descriptions I heard was that of a Czech sculptor who said that a luminaire is something between “a womb and a cathedral”. I feel it is the most succinct description I have ever heard. A uterus is a good description of a comforting enclosure, and a cathedral is designed to be inspiring. I want to create structures which generate inspiration in others”, Alan Parkinson explains in the foreword of his book “The Most Beautiful: 20 Years of Architects of Air”, 2013.
Daedalum: architectural allegory to the labyrinth of Crete
Daedalum is one of the most recent luminaries created by Alan Parkinson’s studio. The attraction takes its name from Daedalus, in Greek mythology, architect of the labyrinth of Crete and Icarus’ father. 19 interconnected domes make up the silhouette of this egg-shaped luminaire, whose translucent feature generates unique nuances and new colour versions. The tones vary when moving from one room to another, and its intensity and effect varies according to the sun’s strength and direction.
Another of the models taken by Parkinson for Daedalum was the Pantheon in Rome, on which the roof of the main dome is based. A representation from Gustave Doré’s angels in Dante’s paradise completes this new art way.
“For me, it is essential that the structures generate an ephemeral experience. One cannot get used to it, and it creates a sense of show, of innovation”, Alan Parkinson adds in the prologue of his book.