06 September, 2013

Fantastic Fair Fun Not On A Stick

By LuAnne Silvia, ASID
I spent Labor Day at our Great Minnesota Get Together this year. The heat wave broke and the cooler weather invited a large crowd to the State Fair setting a record breaking attendance for Labor Day. I was completely captivated by a new exhibit (or an experience is more accurate) EXXOPOLIS! It was located in the quieter section of the fair by the Northeast entrance. Once you stepped into this inflated plastic walk-through sculpture of winding paths you were transported into another dimension! It was an overwhelming sensory experience, not a small task to achieve at the Fair know for it's overloading visual stimulation and heightened smells. What a fantastic contrast to the crowded streets by the Grandstand Ramp.
We waited until mid-afternoon when the sun came out and were so thankful we did. The more sun, the more natural light, and the more light shining through the colored plastic the better. The different colored domes were bathed in radiant light that made it's occupants glow. When you entered the air-lock chamber you first came across the Green Dome. As you traveled from dome to dome there were small chambers along the way where you could stop to take it all in. It inspired visitors to lie down and meditate. There were three domes of different colors, Green, Red and Blue and in the center of them all was the Tree, a magical canopy of soaring shapes that rose above your head connecting all the much smaller, shorter tunnels. Each time you entered  a space of different color a new mood was created, warm glow, serene calm, cool. The most fantastic room of all was the Cupola with it's stained glass windows effect! Pure luminosity of light and color!
Fun facts: Inspired by natural geometry, Islamic architecture and Gothic cathedrals, the luminarium EXXOPOLIS is constructed of 32,000 square feet of plastic shaped into 9,000 individual pieces joined by nearly four miles of seams. Created by England's Architects of Air in celebration of its 20th anniversary. http://www.architects-of-air.com/luminaria/exxopolis.html
Photos of my journey: