Vortex - CODAworx


Submitted by Dave Head

Client: Arts at the Airport MNAA

Location: Nashville, TN, United States

Completion date: 2015

Artwork budget: $12,000

Project Team


Mary Grissim

Arts at the Airport


Dave Head

Inflection Point Mobiles

Industry Resource

Duncan McDaniel

Art Up Nashville


Vortex is a kinetic reflective art installation for an airport skylight. This piece is comprised of four unique tiers with stainless steel arms and dielectric coated glass held in bronze rings. Overall dimensions are 12 ft x 5 ft weighing roughly 20 pounds. Reflections from the re-purposed laser optics are intended to provide a kaleidoscope of colors showering the concourse at all times of the day.


The design effort on this project was to evaluate the sun track across this skylight and align the angles of the mirrors to cast reflections at all times during the day. Understanding the solar transit and polar orientation of the skylight was key to providing a piece that works in a balanced manner throughout the day. Low angle light (early morning & dusk) works best on the vertical oriented optics. Mirrors aligned more horizontal catch midday sun. In either case – as the mobile moves, or as the day progresses, the reflections change both in location as well as in color.


I received early notification from the curator of this project to allow time to successfully complete the piece within the time constraints. Detailed CAD models were developed using the dimensions provided. Designs and sizing for the volume were discussed and a good dialogue between the facility, the Arts at the Airport organization and the Art Up in Nashville installation team ensued. The Vortex exhibits its true nature as it undulates and swirls displaying a truly festive theme. Concerted effort was made to facilitate movement of the piece from the dynamic support scheme to the inclusion of fans.

Additional Information

The installation process was a well choreographed exercise involving shipments of the mobile across the country. Staged inspections were accommodated prior to going vertical. The final hanging was coordinated around a working airport with international travel in a very seamless fashion. An experienced team worked to provided procedures covering concerns for safety and proper support of the finished piece to achieve the desired impact on the concourse.