by Milan Perera, Critic Columnist
On the 12th of August, the mercury was hovering around high 36 centigrades. The once verdant Bristol College Green was reduced to a patch of pale yellow scorched earth.
The highly anticipated Luminarium as an event of Bristol Light Festival was scheduled to be open at 4.30pm but the temperature inside the inflatable pods soared up to 47 centigrades making those pods a death trap for people with underlying health conditions. The anticipation of the expectant crowds was such that even after they were repeatedly turned away by the wonderful group of attendants due to a potential health hazard, they stayed near the site until a green light was given. Finally, the festival attendees were let in, And what a spectacle it was.
The site is half the size of a football pitch where an amalgamation of inflatable pods creating a labyrinth of sensory delights. Created by Alan Parkinson, the designer and founder of Architects of Air back in 1992, Luminarium has travelled some 43 countries enthralling over 3 million people.
Luminarium is entirely sunlight-powered and a feast for the visual sense. It is a kaleidoscope of colour and geometrical patterns that has the vibe of an endless maze. This cornucopia of colour, pods and tunnels would dazzle crowds of all ages who could not help but marvel at the edifice. In the tunnel the favourite stop points were the tree and the dome. The dome incorporates Islamic architecture and elements of Gaudi and the final product certainly does not disappoint.
There is no regimented routine inside the pods. One can do as little or as much. Some prefer to lie down their backs and take in the exuberance of Luminarium in all its glory, while others are busy walking from one pod to the next navigating the labyrinth in double quick time. This family friendly attraction was more than spectacle but a space for creative arts from Bristol. The hypnotic appeal of the labyrinth was not lost on the people of Bristol as there were brief yoga sessions to elevate both the body and the mind.
Luminarium was simultaneously featured in the cities of Nottingham and Gloucester alongside Bristol before it continues its journey mesmerising public around the world.
Have you visited any part of the Bristol Light Festival yet?