Inflatable architecture – Exxopolis Luminarium


Imagine a giant inflatable structure with a labyrinth of interconnecting tunnels and domes awash with a kaleidoscope of colors. This is ‘Exxopolis’ – the creation of Nottingham based Architects of Air, which is currently being exhibited at the Brisbane Festival. Image Source above: Lamar Francois via Architects of Air.


Exxopolis is an impressive size – approximately 10 metres high and 50 metres long. It is one of several monumental inflatable structures designed by Alan Parkinson of Architects of Air. Known as ‘Luminaria’ they are designed to generate a sense of wonder at the beauty of light and colour – and this, they do!

Exxopolis is a world void of white light yet completely mesmerizing. From the minute you step inside, you are transported to another world. People meander through the structure, smiling with wonder and appear mildly intoxicated by the vivid colors and sloping walls.



There is no set path or route in which to explore. Roaming from room to room you can actually feel the impact the different colors have on your senses.  When you find a color that suits your mood it is impossible to resist the allure to sit down and view this structure from a different angle. Image Source: Lamar Francois via Architects of Air.


It is easy to forget you are in an inflatable structure when you look up and see the impressive Islamic inspired design features including a large domed ceiling. The ‘Cupola’ consists of perpendicular style windows, each having been made by different community groups using small pieces of coloured plastic designed to create a ‘stained-glass’ effect.  Image Source Left: Design Lovers Blog. Right: Architects of Air.


The only light that comes in is daylight, and it passes through the translucent coloured PVC. Image Source: Design Lovers Blog.


The plastic is produced uniquely for Architects of Air and only four colours of plastic are used to generate a great diversity of subtle hues. Image Source Left: Design Lovers Blog. Right: Snorlax Kwan via Architects of Air.



Image Source: Design Lovers Blog


Image Source: Lamar Francois via Architects of Air

There are lots of small circular alcove ‘pods’ around the side of the structure where you can sit and relax out of the way of other visitors. Cross legged, on your side or laying down – the common reaction is that once you are in, you won’t want to leave.

While people continue to search for escapism and tranquility in their own homes, will the future see us congregating or living unplugged in giant inflatable structures awash with color to suit our mood? Only time will tell!

Architects of Air have five Luminaria touring the world.  To find out more and when one might be in your country visit Architects of Air.

The Brisbane Festival runs from 6 – 27th September 2014.



 Design Lovers Blog are delighted to have been nominated for Best Designed Blog – Amara Living Blog Awards 2014 #IBA14  and would love your vote. VOTE HERE.


Want more of Design Lovers discoveries Down Under? Read:

Brisbane Design Destination: Alfred & Constance

Brisbane Design Destination: Black & Spiro

Brisbane Design Destination: Magnolia Interiors

Brisbane Design Destination: Kova Lifestyle

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Jill Brandenburg is a Freelance Interiors Writer & Stylist and Co-Editor of Design Lovers Blog.
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