“AMOCOCO” –the inflatable architectural structure
AMOCOCO is one of the five inflatable structures designed by Architects of Air Company.
The other four inflatable structures are: Arboria, Mirazozo, Miracoco and Pentalum. Even though the structures represent a luminarium, each of them has different names depending on the theme they represent. For example, Arbora luminarium is dedicated to the theme “trees” and Miracoco luminarium is dedicated to the Lotus Temple of India.
The company was founded in 1992 by Alan Parkinson and the first installation of the company was called the “Eggopolis”. Alan Parkinson began experimenting with pneumatic sculptures in 1980. Since then, he explores the laws of pneumatics which led to the development of these architectural structures called “Luminaria”. They are built during a workshop organized by the company every year in a former textile workshop in Nottingham, UK. The material used to create these structures is specially made just for AOA (Architects of Air Company) and it is a plastic ordered from France. The interior of “AMOCOCO” is experienced by people through a colorful space that remains in their memory. The project explores how people can experience space, rather than a specific form.
Compared to the other structures built by the Architects of Air, Amococo represents the largest architectural structure with its 86 domes and 71 pods. One of its particularities is the way it is functionally organized. We have the main entrance which is an intermediary space – it connects the exterior public space with the first dome (indoors) – and three main areas (domes) which are connected by smaller spaces within a modular system. This modular system is made up from elements that are zipped together on site.
The small spaces connecting the domes can function as individual areas where visitors can sit in smaller groups and watch the show from the domes. The domes are the largest structures and can held collective activities for all ages, especially for the young ones (shown in the picture below).
Because of the visible stitches of domes the feelings inspired by the structure are enhanced. ( shown in the picture below )
I was strolling through the Luminaria when I remembered what architect Tadao Ando said in a documentary that the interior atmosphere is very important to him. There are two types of comfort: physical and spiritual comfort. The spiritual comfort can be deepened in darkness and physical comfort can be deepened in light. Tadao Ando needs and believes that both enrich the soul. I believe that these two aspects that Tadao Ando talks about can also be discovered in Luminaria.
The interior is a result of the external shape and is accentuated by light. So the intense experience that you have in Luminaria is caused by natural light. The colors have been used to create an atmosphere where darker color gives you a feeling of cold and the light color gives you a feeling of warmth. The warmer spaces gather people together around a “fireplace”.
These inflatable forms do not have a rigid structure. The form is sustained by the pressure present in the internal environment, so the essential components in realizing the structure are the shell and gas or liquid. An important aspect is also the shape – the concave or convex walls are a common shape for an air supported structure.
Author: Adriana Ciotau