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South Boston’s experimental park, The Lawn on D, brings attractions that draw in residents and visitors of all ages. The park has hosted activities including yard games, public art installations, food trucks, and craft brews. From May 28 to 31, The Lawn on D hosted Pentalum, an inflatable maze consisting of five domes. It refracts light to provide a sensory artistic experience for anyone who enters.
Architecture firm Architects of Air, based in Nottingham, UK, designed and built Pentalum. Artistic director Alan Parkinson has been experimenting with inflatable structures since the 1980s.
Pentalum was built completely by hand. Parkinson created a plan, and the workshop made a template. Workers cut thousands of meters of fabric and glued them together by hand over a period of five to six months. The maze is 168 feet long and took 10 people an entire day to erect on the 2.7-acre site.
Architects of Air’s goal is to make its luminaria as inclusive as possible. They draw in visitors of all ages, from babies to senior citizens. Many people are touched by the experience of the luminaria. People of all ages, and some with developmental disabilities, find it soothing.
The luminaria are beautiful regardless of the weather. On a cloudy day or when the sun is setting, the changes in lighting can create amazing visual effects.
Architects of Air has created only five inflatable mazes that are scattered around the world. Pentalum is the only one in the Americas. Each has unique characteristics. Some are set up at organized events or private functions.
Part of the name of the exhibit is based on the prefix “pent,” which refers to the five domes. All of the names of the luminaria are based on members of Parkinson’s family, the structures themselves, and features of the structures. The others are named Aboria, Miracoco, Mirazozo, and Amococo.