These Womb-Like Cathedrals of Color Are Made From Giant Balloons

Would you believe this room was created with nothing more than plastic sheeting, natural light, and an air compressor? It's called a luminarium, and its inventors, Architects of AIR, have just released a book that chronicles two decades of their creations.

A luminarium is a human-scaled pneumatic sculpture which uses inflated sheets of PVC to create cavernous, colorful spaces that can be explored for hours. Architects of AIR have several different versions that travel the globe, setting up in parks and beaches for days or weeks at a time.

These Womb-Like Cathedrals of Color Are Made From Giant Balloons

From the outside, an Architects of AIR luminarium looks interesting, but not mind-blowing—a set of inflatables scattered across the landscape like abstract balloon animals. You almost think you're in for some kind of bouncy castle experience.

But, stepping inside the structure—something visitors must do through an airlock, of course—is a transformative experience.

These Womb-Like Cathedrals of Color Are Made From Giant Balloons

The translucent, colored sections of PVC (that create this entire spectrum using only four colors) become almost like stained glass, dyeing the cushy volumes.

Visitors are encouraged to wander through the space for as long as they'd like, exploring the various tunnels or settling into the pod-like rooms.

These Womb-Like Cathedrals of Color Are Made From Giant Balloons

Some spaces are soft and labyrinthine, like traveling through the aorta into the chambers of the heart.

These Womb-Like Cathedrals of Color Are Made From Giant Balloons

Others open up into massive domes, with thin lines of clear PVC drawing bands of light along the walls.

These Womb-Like Cathedrals of Color Are Made From Giant Balloons

These Womb-Like Cathedrals of Color Are Made From Giant Balloons

Over two million people in 40 countries have interacted with an Architects of AIR installation since 1992. These photos are gorgeous, but they don't really convey the experience. If you ever have a chance to visit one in a city near you: Go. [Architects of Air]

These Womb-Like Cathedrals of Color Are Made From Giant Balloons

These Womb-Like Cathedrals of Color Are Made From Giant Balloons

Photos by Aaron J. Montes, John Owens, Narelle Trottman, Jason Nakrani, and Alan Parkinson