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Arboria. Photo Alan Parkinson
Arboria. Photo Alan Parkinson

Dream-like luminarium experience at Salford Quays

Home » To do & see » Dream-like luminarium experience at Salford Quays

A dream-like luminarium is heading to MediaCityUK as part of a dazzling four-day festival culminating in a breath-taking high-wire performance across the Quays.

ARBORIA Photo Alan Parkinson
ARBORIA Photo Alan Parkinson

Architects of Air’s luminariums are inhabited sculptures where public art and the viewing public become one. Here people are transported, via a labyrinthine of tunnels and cavernous domes into a sensory world of light and colour, accompanied by a gentle sensory soundscape. Once inside, you’re free to explore the dazzling maze of winding paths and soaring domes.

Founder, Alan Parkinson’s intention is to stimulate visitors to a sense of wonder to the beauty of light and colour, creating an environment where visitors’ experience is influenced by their own reaction to the space. He explains: “What motivates me to design is the fact that I continue to be struck by the beauty of light and colour found in the luminaria. These structures nurture an awareness of a pure phenomenon that gently cuts through everyday conditioned perceptions an awakens a sense of wonder in people.


Interview with designer Alan Parkinson at Edinburgh Fringe

The idea originally grew out of a theatre project for people with learning disabilities, and inclusivity remains a central part of its work. The experience is fully accessible and suitable for all ages. However, children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult, with a minimum requirement of one adult for four children.

Since 1992 the Architects of Air have built 21 luminaria. Arboria, dedicated to the theme of trees, is the epic structure visiting Salford Quays. On entering, visitors encounter a green dome, one of the three 8m high domes, each dominated by a colour – red, green or blue. Venturing further into the luminarium visitors arrive at several 3-dimensional trees – combined of cones and spheres assembled to form a brightly luminous tree trunk with branches that extend high above their heads. The accompanying soundscape from Alice Eldridge combines her own piano composition with recordings made or biodiversity monitoring in the Ecuadorian cloud forest.

ARBORIA Photo Alan Parkinson
ARBORIA Photo Alan Parkinson

The light comes simply from daylight shining through the luminarium’s fabric, which means that each experience differs depending on the weather and changing light outside.

As a finale to the festival, at 5.30pm on Sunday 2 June Funambulist Chris Bullzini will perform a jaw-dropping high wire walk across the Quays. And earlier in the day there will be opportunities to for all ages to have-a-go at various circus skills with the chance try a tight wire walk for yourself.

The Bullzini Family

Festival activities are free, but pre-booking for the luminarium is recommended because access is limited.

Quays Festival 2019 takes place from 30 May to 2 June at Salford Quays, Media City UK. Opening times for the luminarium are: Thursday 30 – Friday 31 May 2pm – 7pm; Saturday 1 June 12pm – 6pm; and Sunday 2 June 10am – 4pm.

Chris Bullzini at Salford Quays

Visit Quaysculture.com for details.

Read about previous interactive free light festivals from Quays Culture.

Written by
Carmel Thomason
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Written by Carmel Thomason