Giant Inflatable Walk-In Sculpture Offers One-of-a-Kind Artistic Experience
Norfolk, VA – In celebration of its 25th birthday, Nauticus will present ALBESILA Luminarium by Architects of Air April 12-21 in downtown Norfolk This unprecedented walk-through art experience is a massive labyrinth in which visitors are immersed in a maze of 27 egg-shaped domes— a phenomenon of ever-changing light, shapes and color. Launched in 2017 at the Nottingham Arts Centre, ALBESILA is the newest creation of British-based Architects of Air as well as its 25th anniversary structure. It will be located at the MacArthur Center Green at the corner of Freemason Street and Monticello Avenue.
With its many multicolored connected pods, from the outside ALBESILA looks like something aliens might have transported to Earth. The structure is about 146 by 81 feet, half the size of a football field. ALBESILA includes a 73-foot high, multi-colored dome, based on the “Spiral of Life” from an earlier luminarium, EGGOPOLIS, with a galaxy of 288 stars swirling upward. Other-worldly music sets a tone of peace and tranquility.
Nauticus brought a smaller luminarium, ARBORIA, to downtown Norfolk in
2017. Nearly 7,000 people visited over the course of four days.
“ALBESILA has toured all over the world and we’re thrilled to bring it to Hampton Roads,” said Stephen E. Kirkland, Nauticus executive director. “An extended run over spring break will hopefully give everyone a chance to enjoy this incredible experience.”
Architects of Air founder and designer Alan Parkinson first began experimenting with pneumatic structures in the 1980s and has since developed his own language of form in this plastic medium.
“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” said Parkinson. “These structures nurture an awareness of a pure phenomenon that gently cuts through everyday conditioned perceptions and awakens a sense of wonder in people.”
ALBESILA will be open (rain or shine) Monday through Friday from noon until 6 p.m. and on weekends from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. It is accessible to wheelchair users and people with mobility difficulties. Admission is $6 for adults or children (ages 2 and under are admitted free). A combo ticket that includes admission to Nauticus is also available at $21 for adults; and
$16 for children (4-12). Tickets are purchased on-site. In addition, a limited number of $10 Advance Booking tickets that give priority access at a specified time (reducing wait time) are available for purchase only at Nauticus.org.
For more information about ALBESILA, visit Nauticus.org or call (757) 664-1000.
Located on the downtown Norfolk waterfront, Nauticus is a maritime science museum that explores the economic, naval, and natural power of the sea. Nauticus features hands-on exhibits, marine life, 3D movies, a Stewards of the Sea exhibit that explores the Navy’s environmental efforts, the Hampton Roads Naval Museum, the awe-inspiring Battleship Wisconsin–one of the largest and last battleships built by the U.S. Navy- and the Banana Pier Gift Shop. Nauticus is also home to the Sail Nauticus Sailing Center, the Half Moone Cruise & Celebration Center, and the Victory Rover Naval Base Cruises.
About MacArthur Center
MacArthur Center, located on Monticello Avenue in downtown Norfolk, features one million square feet of retail offerings, including the region’s flagship Dillard’s department store. Shoppers can explore more than 140 stores including Apple, J.Crew Michael Kors and Fink’s Jewelers. Entertainment and dining options occupy approximately 25 percent of the tenant mix. MacArthur Center also offers Live 360°, an interactive program of classes, demonstrations, workshops and more allowing the community to actively engage around their interests.