When Rebar was launched ten years ago, it set out to imagine opportunities to redefine and reimagine the world around us, and our relationships with our fellow human beings.
Deliberately uncategorized but residing somewhere in the space between art, design and activism, the organization became a kind of "project of projects" and brought into being generous public spaces, moments of camaraderie between strangers, novel uses of materials, reclamation of unlikely sites, outlandish public art, gallery shows, public policy reform, classes and lectures, a global movement tens of thousands strong, innovative forms of public participation, and a new way of seeing the environment that has included artists and designers from around the world.
Rebar's evolution from seminal projects to art collective to civic institution to professional practice was scrappy, unusual and...dare we say it...radical. Along the way we worked with some of the finest and most values-driven people and organizations around the world, people committed to making the human environment humane. And fun. We took on a lot and did a lot. We had a good time.
In spring of 2014, Rebar's founders launched two new ventures that drew on this spirit and headed back to where we came from: art practice and urbanism. Matthew Passmore launched Morelab, a practice that creates innovative artworks, installations and experiences that examine our understanding of the social, political and ecological dynamics of space. John Bela and Blaine Merker launched Gehl Studio, the American office of Gehl Architects, a public space design consultancy with a 45-year history shaping major cities, to scale up their practice of creating places for people around the world.
As these two new ventures take us in different, if not surprising directions, the essence of what Rebar is still drives the work of its founders and their staff — many of them Rebar also alums — in our new organizations.
The Rebar way of seeing the world is now infusing two new companies, and Rebar's portfolio will, as always, remain at this website for all to see. Park(ing) Day will continue to reach new cities every year.
We are grateful to Rebar's supporters and co-conspirators around the world. We are looking forward to continuing to work with you. For those of us who would like to see Rebar's work summed up in a retrospective, send us a short message and we'll share the interest with our publisher (and send you advance notice of the forthcoming book).