Assignment 4: Mobile Towers

Due: Wed., March 22


For this assignment you will work with a partner(s) to create an inflatable that creates a visual form that relates to the music of the tuba band. As we have talked about in class, imagine that the tower you are creating is an elevated form that reaches up into the space as sound and music does. The Mobile Tower doesn’t need to directly represent the music – instead it is inspired by the music and elaborates upon it.

The assignment includes designing your tower in Rhino, laser cutting your design’s pattern pieces from paper and assembling a mock-up of your design, assessing the mock-up and making adjustments in your patterns, enlarging the pattern pieces, and constructing an inflatable. This project has parameters for you to work within and also has a number of due dates along the way to help you continue progress throughout the length of the assignment.


  1. Height: Your final inflatable tower should be 7-13 ft tall (not including the base).
  2. Width: Your final inflatable tower should be 4ft x 4ft at the bottom of the inflatable. The upper portion of your inflatable can expand up to 7ft x 7ft. Anything wider than that needs permission.
  3. Fan: The inflatable must use only one fan.
  4. Stability: The inflatable needs to stand on its own, without being attached to a wall or ceiling.
  5. Base: Your instructor (Olivia) will provide you with a base pattern. You are also welcome to design your own base instead. If you want to design and create your own base, here are the parameters:
    • The base will need to be sturdy enough to hold your upper inflatable.
    • The maximum width for the base is 4ft x 4ft.
    • There needs to be at least a 3ft diameter circle in the center of the base for the tuba player to sit beneath.
    • The base needs to have a ceiling that gives 5 ft of height for the tuba player to sit under.

Due Dates

  1. Wed., Feb. 27 – Design and Paper Mock-up:
    • Create a design for your inflatable. Laser cut the pieces from paper and assemble a mock-up of your design using tape.
    • Make a post on the class website: Upload 2-3 images of your design (captured in Rhino, screen shot is okay)
  2. Wed. March 15 – Large scale pattern pieces cut:
    • Enlarge your pattern pieces onto ripstop nylon and cut out your full-scale ripstop nylon pattern pieces.
    • Begin sewing your pieces. Have at least 1/4 of your inflatable sewn together.
  3. Wed. March 22 – Final Inflatable due:
    • Share your inflatable in class.


You will be provided with ripstop nylon to use for this assignment. The ripstop nylon will be from recycled past inflatables (don’t worry, we have a lot of material). Please be cognizant of not wasting material as you cut out your pattern pieces – it is our shared resource and will also be used for future assignments.

The Inflatable Material area MUST be kept neat and clean. No fabric or bins can be left on the floor in front of the inflatable shelves. This is very important for others to be able to pass along that pathway.

Documentation of Inflatable

  • Documentation is due within one week after the assignment due date above.
  • Upload your documentation to the class website, with the category Mobile Towers
  • Your documentation should include:
    • a paragraph outlining your explorations: your process, discoveries, successes, challenges.
    • photographs or short videos of your objects (Please embed the video into your post so it can be directly viewed; you may either upload an MP4 file to our server or use supported third-party hosting, such as Vimeo or Youtube, etc.)


Points for this project will be divided amongst the following criteria:

PRESENTATION / INSTALLATION: The project demonstrates the maker’s careful consideration of the ways in which the work is installed/presented for critique (including site, location in space, relationship to the viewers).

EXPERIMENTATION/ RISK-TAKING/ INVENTIVENESS: The maker’s willingness to take risks (in composition, formal choices, materials, ideas, and content) is evident. Also important is the maker’s openness to new ideas, chance occurrences, and feedback throughout the creative process.

EXECUTION: Decisions about materials used and the manner in which the work is constructed, fabricated, and composed are deliberate. The maker’s choices indicate an awareness of how formal issues, materials and processes contribute to the interpretation or experience of the work.

COLLABORATION: The maker is an active collaborator in the project throughout the process. This includes, but is not limited to: responsive and open communication with collaborator, sharing in the tasks related to the project, actively listening and open to the ideas of their collaborator, contributes ideas to be considered for the project, open to suggestions, and follows through with what they have said they would do.

DOCUMENTATION: Documentation well represents the works. It is clear, focused, and without extra elements that distract from experiencing the work. It includes both written reflection and photographic or video elements. Photographs are large enough for us to easily view the works.