Celebrating Architecture and Light, Monumental Luminarium Lands On Walter Pyramid Lawn



Inside the luminarium, there are tunnels that lead to massive rooms. Photos by Jason Ruiz.

The international sensation, Architects of Air, has brought its latest inflatable, psychedelic labyrinth to California State University Long Beach, where it will be up for public display on the Walter Pyramid lawn April 11 through 14. 

The goliath luminarium Exxopolis--which celebrates the beauty of Islamic architecture and gothic cathedrals--is making its first appearance in the greater L.A. area. The vibrant structure which resembles a giant bounce house from the outside was previously displayed at University of California Santa Barbara and fielded nearly 2,000 visitors a day. 

Visitors are allowed to wander though the maze of color, vaulted ceilings and stained glass windows for about 20 minutes at a time, depending on the amount of people waiting outside. During that time, they’re encouraged to lay down, relax and take in the soothing vibes put out by the structure’s quirky design and light display. Christina Esparza, communications coordinator for Associated Students Inc., which helped bring Exxopolis to Long Beach, said she hopes people take the time to enjoy the beauty of it all. 


“I hope that they walk away inspired and in a sense of awe,“ Esparza said. “I want them to drown out the outside world for a while and see how beautiful life can be when you’re not sticking your head in your smartphone.” 

ASI, which coordinates campus events throughout the year for students, brought Exxopolis to the Beach at a price of $36,000. However, the force that prompted the booking of the architectural marvel was Alana Johnson, a 23-year-old design major who just looking for something new to be brought to campus. 

“I was just trying to come up with a unique and different event that the campus has never seen before but also make it so the whole community and school could be involved even though its an arts event,” Johnson said. 

architectsofair3Esparza, said that because ASI is owned, operated and run by students, price usually isn’t important when it comes to booking events for the campus. “We don’t really say ‘no’, we say, ‘That’s interesting, lets see if we can make it work.'" She does give Johnson credit for being persistent in bringing something to the community that people of all ages will enjoy. Esparza also said that something so globally popular making an appearance in Long Beach is significant for reasons other than attendance and community involvement. 

“Its a worldwide phenomenon,” Esparza said. “It being the first time in Southern California…it kind of shows that Cal State Long Beach is growing but also culturally significant.”

Exxopolis, is the twentieth such luminarium put out by the Nottingham, UK based company Architects of Air that has entertained over two million people in 38 countries with its enchanting and cavernous structures. Thin sheets of chloride polyvinyl chloride (PVC) are hand-cut and hand-glued in a process that can take up to four months resulting in the monumental mazes that are illuminated by sunshine.

The luminarium will be open to public from 12PM to 6 PM and tickets, which can be purchased at the Pyramid’s box office, will cost $5 for anyone two years or older without a valid CSULB student identification card. CSULB students get free admission.

For more about Architects of Air, visit their website

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