A Maze of Colour: “Pentalum” at the Lawn on D

Children Play on the lawn as they wait to enter and explore the “Pendulum” exhibit at the Lawn on D © Julia Swanson, 2015

From the distance it looked like King Koopa decided to take a rest after a long day of trying to kidnap Princess Peach and conquer the Mushroom Kingdom. Up close it was no less impressive with the enormous pointed domes of brightly coloured vinyl swaying slightly in the light summer breeze. The line to visit “Pentalum” wound its way around the green at the Lawn on D, and while the wait was estimated at upwards of 2 hours it somehow all felt festive with the visitors playing games, chatting and running off to grab snacks for their friends in line.

Presented by the Architects of Air, and designed by Alan Parkinson, “Pentalum” is a luminarium which is similar to an enormous luminaria, or paper lantern, that people can walk through.  One of the few that are traveling the world, it uses only natural light to illuminate the colourful fabric shell which guests are invited to walk through.  The shell is the same thickness as skin, which seems unbelievable as it hardly seemed capable of containing all the people and air that were inside. 

Inside the dome was a maze glowing with emerald, magenta, turquoise and fiery orange light which accentuated the beautifully swaying curves of the interior.   For the visitors, wandering the colour drenched halls, it was an otherworldly experience, peaceful, breathtaking even,  and only slightly reminding me of something out of a retro Dr. Who.

At the Lawn on D, a seasonal event space in Boston’s Seaport neighborhood, this is all par for the course. Initially a temporary experiment the Lawn on D has become a signature fixture in the Seaport neighborhoood since it opened in 2014. Providing an all ages urban playground of sorts the Lawn on D hosts periodic large scale art installations such as “Pentalum” and the now iconic set of interactive, “Swing Time” rings but it also features outdoor activities, food, movies, performances, and theme days. Slightly off the beaten path the Lawn on D is typically busy with locals which makes it kind of local treasure and an ideal place to spend a fun afternoon.

The Lawn on D is open on a seasonal basis. Please check their website and/or social media for updates, opening/closing notices, delays due to weather and guidance for visiting during COVID, and directions.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: