Doxa Art Square in Kaunas, Lithuania
Art Square, a whimsical project in Kaunas, Lithuania, struck us as particularly Rebar-ish. Members of the London-based international design collective, Art Pit, transformed an abandoned Soviet fountain into an engaging public hangout. Rather than denying the original identity of the space, designers Justina Balčiūnaitė and Jonas Juozas Rudzinskas embraced the site by channeling the fountain’s watery past. They hacked old bathtubs into armchairs and sofas and the resulting forms looked uncannily similar to classic, turn-of-the-century British furniture designs. It is one of those ideas that seem so obvious after someone else comes up with it. Showerheads were re-imagined as light fixtures.
Art Square, Kaunas, Lithuania, by the design collective, Art Pit.
The result cleverly achieves a balance that we strive for when reimagining a public place: to create something different that inspires people to experience their surroundings in a new way, while simultaneously allowing a space to evolve without losing touch with its authentic character. For example, in the collaborative Pavement to Parks project at Showplace Triangle, done in partnership with the San Francisco Planning Department, Recology, California College of the Arts, and others, Rebar gained access to the City’s storage space , acquiring recycled city infrastructure such as black granite slabs that had previously been seating on Market Street.
Rebar’s Showplace Triangle and CCA design-build course, both part of San Francisco’s Pavement to Park program.
In a similar collaborative project through CCA’s UrbanLab studio course, students were an integral part of the design decisions that ultimately redefined the Hooper Street site, essentially giving their campus a new backyard. In these examples, the final designs show a successful combination of new and unexpected elements that are formed with the direct participation of local residents and users, ensuring a seamless cohesion with the surrounding neighborhood.