earlier this year, forK was asked to submit a proposal for a monumental structure at the annual bonnaroo music & arts festival. the request was for an object to become a permanent addition to the festival skyline, 70 feet tall, serving double-time as both wayfinding device and light tower. being very happy to help define a tower, we turned around in a couple of days a handful of sketches, a material list, a budget, and a fabrication and erection plan for what we dubbed the soft boil. the job didn't materialize, but nevertheless gave us a chance to explore our notions on a new scale.
the sculpture is an oval in plan, 18 feet x 12 feet, and the overall composition is an ellipsoid sliced on a steep axis, from the 70 foot mark to the 20 foot mark. inside of this slice is suspended an ovular surface; this tarpaulin skin would consist of 800 square feet of triangular golden leaves, laser cut from yellow mylar plastic and riveted together on site. during the day the skin would create a place of shade for festival-goers to relax under and at night the canopy would be lit from behind by LED spot lights, transforming it into a beacon.
the intent was to create a tower that could be quickly fabricated and erected, limiting the amount of time on-site. the construction of soft boil is exterior grade plywood, finished with a marine grade coating. all of the ribs and struts for the skeletal frame would be milled in nashville and shipped to the site, where a group of workers could splice the framing together with bolts and hand tools. the structure is divided into four modules, each of which would be craned into place and connected to it's neighboring components.
a primary driver of the design was that soft boil develop it's own character and identity over the years of the festival. the piece itself is significant in scale, however the framework provides opportunity for addition and reinterpretation year by year. skins can be applied or woven into the structure, the mylar surface can be changed for a different texture, color or geometry, and the entire piece can be festooned with prayer flags or other worldly banners.