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Design Cycle: Urban Prototyping

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Sunday, July 21 Brava Theater Center

Join Matthew Passmore of Rebar and San Francisco’s Mission Bicycle Company in a tactile and conversational exploration of urban prototyping. Matthew will detail this emerging movement to make city design more innovative, responsive, and collaborative. The nights presentation also includes the first glimpse of the Streetscape Kit of Parts, an urban prototype kit for testing and developing bike lanes, designed in collaboration with the SFBC.

Come early at 6pm for an urban-proto-parklet party on 24th street with modular stage, Rebar Bubbleware, as well as live music and bicycle tacos. Matthew takes the stage at 7pm.

For complete details, and to grab tickets, click here. Design Cycle is an exploration of urban innovation created by Mission Bicycle Company.

Written by zoesiegel

July 16th, 2013 at 10:58 am

Parkcycle Swarms Copenhagen, next stop Baku

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Iøn Sorvin of N55 and Till Wolfer release Parkcycle Swarm into the streets of Copenhagen


Rebar created the world’s first pedal-powered public park: the Parkcycle in 2007. On the occasion of Participate: Baku Public Art Festival 2013,  Rebar and N55 with Till Wolfer have created a novel evolution of the piece: Parkcycle Swarm!

Parkcycle Swarm is an open source, public space distribution system. Individual pedal powered Parkcyles function as independent subunits, but join together quickly and easily to create an aggregate public space. Parkcycle Swarm is a collaboration between John Bela of Rebar Group and N55 with Till Wolfer. Parkcycle Swarm has the potential to grow exponentially, as people use N55’s open source plans to create their own iterations of the piece.

N55 recently released Parkcycle Swarm for a prototype test run in Copenhagen. The peice performed beautifully, delivering a context for unique social interactions across the famous Danish city known for its bicycle culture.

Till Wolfer demonstrates the conversion from mobile park to stationary open space


Parkcycle Swarm is a fully functional cargo bike, an elaboration of N55‘s groundbreaking XYZ spaceframe vehicle system.  The steering column and seat tube fold away and are concealed under a landscape panel to create a fully inhabitable park surface.

Designed and fabricated in Copenhagen by N55 and Till Wolfer with John Bela of Rebar, the piece has been packed for shipping and is now on its way to Baku, Azerbaijan for the Participate: Baku Public Art Festival 2013 project opening on August 5th.  Swarm on!

Written by John

July 3rd, 2013 at 11:18 pm

Rebar in DC

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Rebar just completed our second ArtPlace event along the 14th Street NW Corridor with the DC Office of Planning and the 14th Street Uptown Business Association.  We set up a temporary workshop on 14th Street and Crittenden for the week and held open studios each night for volunteers.  On Saturday for our Street Furniture Design Build, community members, business owners, and DC planners alike came together to help sand, paint, and assemble furniture pieces.

We worked with Creative Dimension Group to cut flat plywood pieces with a CNC router.  These are the first prototypes of our kit-of-parts furniture that can be easily assembled and disassembled as necessary.  The pieces were designed in varying animal shapes and painted with bright colors with the intent to celebrate “play” in the urban environment.

(L) Volunteers painting high stool pieces; (R) Angie with a high table and stool set at Smokey’s.

We made 3 sets of high tables with bar-height stools and gave them to local businesses along the Corridor.  The sidewalks in DC are very wide (reaching 35′ at certain points) with ample opportunities for public use. Five planters shaped like hippos with fold-out benches were placed along the corridor.

Sandy and Aziza on a planter and stool.

Our final piece was a whale-shaped porch swing that hung from a crocodile head frame. The swing can be interchanged with a community message board. We met some great folks in the neighborhood and are excited about how the pieces turned out!

Our Swing on the corner of 14th and Crittenden.

Testing out the swing!

See our flickr for more photographs of the event.

After our event, I took a tour of Dupont Underground with Julian Hunt (of Hunt Laudi Studio), Monling Lee, and Braulio Agnese.  We met Julian at our first event in DC for 5×5; he was a part of our panel, “Public Art: It’s a Verb!”

Existing conditions of Dupont Underground.

Dupont Underground is a non-profit started by Julian to re-open an abandoned tunnel just beneath Dupont Circle. This amazing underground space was in use as a trolly station for just over twenty years before it was closed in 1975. The 75,000 square feet of space is ripe with opportunities for exhibitions and events. We’re excited to hear how the story unfolds of bringing Dupont Underground back into the public realm.

Written by Rebar

July 24th, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Rebar is Hiring

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Rebar is hiring an Artist!


Rebar seeks an outstanding individual to join our growing team of professional artists and designers!

Rebar is a small and growing art and design studio located in San Francisco’s Mission District. Our projects occupy the intersection of art, design and ecology, but span many disciplines and often engage outside collaborators. Architecture, landscape and art practice are the core skillsets with which we approach the world. Though our image is often rightly associated with guerrilla tactics, we have developed a professional art and design studio that explores some of the most interesting projects in the contemporary urban landscape. Our clients include museums, public agencies, private companies, neighborhood groups, architects and developers and arts organizations.

Rebar’s ongoing art practice often involves a method of sampling and remixing, similar to the methods employed by DJs. Our artwork radically decontextualizes ordinary objects and materials as a strategy for exploring shared structures of cultural symbolism and to generate new forms of meaning. This conceptual approach has resulted in artworks rendered in a diverse variety of media, including earthworks, monumental steel sculpture and temporary performance installation.

Current Opening: Associate Artist (3-4 days/week contract position to start, with opportunity to become full-time employee)

To expand our art practice, we are seeking energetic and well-­rounded applicants who have a passion for artmaking and exceptional spatial/visual communication skills to turn art concepts into masterfully constructed artworks. The right candidate operates in the sweet spot of professionalism, confidence, imagination and a sense of humor.

Skills and Qualifications

• MFA/MID/Master’s Degree in industrial design, sculpture, architecture or other material-­based art practice
• 2+ years work experience in a professional art and/or design context
• Excellent ability to communicate and develop ideas through hand sketching
• Willingness to explore and expand Rebar’s conceptual approach to artmaking
• Fluency in 3D surface modeling program (Sketchup, Rhino) and solid modeling (Solidworks)
• Knowledge and ability to render (Maxwell, Vray, etc.) and compose professional presentations in Adobe CS
• Familiarity with current materials, products and finishes related to permanent artwork sited in public spaces
• Understanding of building and fabrication processes
• Understanding of standard design practices including professional communication, record keeping, etc.
• Knowledge of budgeting and project management procedures
• Experience managing others desirable but not required

3. How to Apply:

A) Download the PDF for the position here.

B) Submit all of the information requested in the PDF as directed

C) The position remains open until filled. No Phone calls please!

Rebar is an equal opportunity employer and does not select its job applicants or employees based upon race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, marital status, gender, sexual orientation, age or disability status.

Written by Matthew

July 16th, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Bubbleware Invade Austin

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Bubbleware stacked and waiting for activation outside of Austin City Hall

Bubbleware stacked and waiting for activation outside of Austin City Hall

On April 14th Rebar landed in Austin as part of Art City Austin, a half art festival half block party put on by Art Alliance Austin.  The festival marked Bubbleware’s first stateside deployment outside of San Francisco.  Art City Austin closed two main  thoroughfares for one weekend, allowing artists and festival goers to experience the streets sans cars. For two days, Bubbleware were spread out over the 6 block spread creating hot spots of improvised lounge space.

Bubbleware and Swing Bubbleware playground Bubbleware loves kids

Rebar was invited back to participate in both the Fusebox festival and Plaza Life festival.  Bubbleware was first installed at the Fusebox “hub” before being transferred to Frost Bank Tower’s expansive plaza.  The Bubbleware were quite comfortable in their new high-class digs, softening the austerity of Frost Bank Tower’s plaza and inviting passers-by to participate in the many events happening that weekend.

Plaza goers relax to some latin music in the newly activated Frost Bank Plaza

Plaza goers relax to some Latin music in the newly activated Frost Bank Plaza

002 Bubbleware in Austin Enjoying Bubbleware Adam Green and Josh Berliner of Rebar prep Bubbleware for deployment

Rebar’s last stop in our whirlwind tour was City Hall, where Matthew Passmore spoke as part of the Next Level speaker series.


Matthew Passmore lectures at Austin City Hall

We felt right at home in Austin and hope we contributed to “keepin’ it weird”.

Written by Rebar

May 16th, 2012 at 9:03 pm

Rebar Collaborates with the DC Office of Planning

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In April, Rebar teamed up with the Washington DC Office of Planning, the 14th Street Uptown Business Association, and curator Justine Topfer to participate in a citywide public art project, 5×5. Together we put on a series of events and activities to engage the community in generating design ideas for pubic space along the Central 14th Street NW Corridor.


At the intersection of 14th Street NW and Colorado Avenue, we tested out a future Colorado Art Plaza. The mockup incorporated a full-scale street painting, new planting beds, and moveable Bubbleware street furniture. Later in the day we ran a Community Design Charrette: a series of visualizing activities. Sharing our design process tools, participants offered feedback, sketched ideas, and built scaled model pieces.


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In mid-June, Rebar will return to DC with a collection of temporary “test” furniture based on the conversations and feedback we received during this first visit. Rebar’s collaboration in DC intends to test out full-scale designs to see how they work before permanent investments are made.

Written by Rebar

May 10th, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Rebar amps up for Urban Play in Køge, Denmark

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Check out the construction of Rebar’s upcoming installation at  Søndre Havn (South Harbor) in the historic seaport city of Køge, southwest of Copenhagen, Denmark.  As part of the Urban Play exhibition, Rebar is exploring Køge’s history with a constructed landscape of raw industrial materials: Legelandskab af træ og sand (Playscape of wood and sand). Sky-high piles of sand are poured around vertically mounted pine logs, creating a minimalist, man-made forest where site lines are left to be discovered, buried between the sandy dunes. Over the course of the exhibition, we expect that the form of the undulating ground plane will morph based on the exploration patterns of visitors frolicking around the site.


Legelandskab af træ og sand (Playscape of wood and sand) in progress


Vandremark (Wanderfield)

Rebar will also be sowing a nearby vacant lot with wheat grain in the installation, Vandremark (Wanderfield)Over time it will grow in between the concrete grey silos of the industrial landscape, changing colors as it runs its seasonal course.

Urban Play opens next Friday, May 4th.  Principal John Bela will be representing the Rebar posse, so if you find yourself nearby, come say hello. Stay tuned for more pics!

Written by Rebar

April 26th, 2012 at 9:01 am

Nomadic Grove is installed!

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Nomadic Grove was installed last Wednesday followed by a lovely opening reception at the Contemporary Jewish Museum to mark the beginning of the exhibit, Do Not Destroy: Trees, Art, and Jewish Thought. Many thanks to the museum’s security, Rebar’s intrepid staff and volunteers, and the amazing crew from Treemover who stood in the rain all day to make this installation a success. The gems will be in the plaza until May. Come check them out!

image by Molly Fiffer

image by Molly Fiffer

The rainy install day started with a very early morning at our studio. Lawson Drayage secured the gems on 2 flatbeds using a 15,000 lb forklift with 7-foot blades. The gems braved the city streets and headed for the Contemporary Jewish Museum for the install.


Loading the gems on 20th Street


In front of the Rebar studio and fabrication shop


The gems arriving at the Contemporary Jewish Museum

rainy-day install

It was a rainy installation day.

Waiting at the plaza with Fernando from Treemovers were the two olive trees one an oak, ready to be dropped into the planters. As soon as they were unloaded from the truck, we were ready to place the trees using an enormous grade-all brought by the tree nursery.


Our trees, waiting for us in the plaza of the museum



Gems before lids

Gems before lids


Written by Rebar

February 23rd, 2012 at 6:24 pm

Intersection: Public Art for Portland’s Clinton Street Station

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For more than a year, Rebar has been working on a monumental public art piece for Portland Tri-Met’s Clinton Street station, a stop along Portland’s new Portland-Milwaukie light rail line. The design is finalized and we are please to unveil the piece here:

Named “Intersection,” the sculpture comprises repurposed surplus light rail track extracted from a location mere feet from the sculpture site. The intersecting geometry is inspired by the abstract topological subway maps you see on train platforms the world over.  At night, the sculpture will be lit for dynamic views of the piece and to help it become a way finding landmark for folks in the Brooklyn or HAND neighborhoods who are looking to catch the train.

How do you get rail (which is called “light rail” though it weighs well over 100 lbs per foot) to bend at such impossible angles? We’re not giving away any secrets, but suffice it to say Portland fabricator and artist Jim Schmidt and his team at Art & Design Works, are alchemists, and may well be wizards too. We have also been pleased to collaborate on the piece with the excellent structural engineers at Grummel Engineering and the talented designers and engineers at Interface Engineering, who did the lighting design. Look for the piece to be standing tall sometime in 2015!


testCurves-webRail like it’s never been bent before

Written by Rebar

February 16th, 2012 at 11:46 am

Commission begins for Contemporary Jewish Museum at Jessie Plaza

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Nomadic Grove - perspective copy

New project!

Nomadic Grove, commissioned by the Contemporary Jewish Museum (CJM) in downtown San Francisco, is now under construction at the Rebar studio.  The project is an experimental outdoor landscape sited at the museum’s entrance and consisting of an archipelago of gem-like seating islands, each holding a specimen tree at its center.

The installation is a meditation on rootedness in the relentlessly changing city. To sit for a moment, relaxed, while gazing up at a tree that frames the sky is a simple and profound human experience–one that is in short supply in modern cities. This is a rare urban experience because trees resist the city’s constant motion, the city’s ruthlessness, the impatient cosmopolitanism.

The wood-framed islands are suspended low on wheels, floating just above the surface of the plaza as if they were riding on a calm lake. The modules are anchored in one of several compositions at the museum’s entrance, changing formation from week to week. The trees–oak, olive, and cypress–are adapted to the climates of both Israel and the Bay Area, representing the Mediterranean biome that is shared between the two regions.

Nomadic Grove - layout copy

The islands provide a means for visitors to inhabit a familiar urban space in novel ways, creating amphitheaters, seating, lounging decks, informal classrooms, or social spaces, depending on the day and configuration.

Nomadic Grove is open to the public in conjunction with the exhibition, Do Not Destroy: Trees, Art, and Jewish Thought, on view at CJM from February 16th through May 28th, 2012.

Written by Blaine

January 3rd, 2012 at 4:46 pm

Rebar commissioned for interactive light sculpture at Jackson Plaza, Seattle

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Another new commission! Rebar begins 2012 with work on an exciting project in Seattle: an interactive light sculpture designed to activate the newly built Jackson Plaza at night. The piece will respond interactively to the motion and proximity of people who walk by, or walk through, the plaza. Installation is slated for early spring ’12. More details to come in coming weeks, for now here’s a few teaser images.


Written by Blaine

January 2nd, 2012 at 4:49 pm

Bubbleware at Treasure Island Music Festival

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Rebar was delighted to provide some of our Bubbleware at the 2011 Treasure Island Music Festival, one of San Francisco’s premier music festivals. Bubbleware is a modular social furniture system that uses an inflatable interior structure covered by a sewn ripstop nylon skin. The skin, created in partnership with messenger bag company Timbuk2, is a durable material perfect for heavy-duty playtime. Bubbleware is rearrangeable and stackable, allowing for endless options and lots of fun. The design for Bubbleware was originally commissioned by Sydney Art and About’s Laneways exhibition, where Bubbleway (the Australian incarnation of the project) is currently on display at Bulletin Place through January 2012.

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bubbleware TI 3

Bubbleware provided a great perch for both relaxing and people-watching during the Treasure Island Music Festival.

bubbleware TI 1

Attendees of the festival enjoyed sitting, bouncing, lying, eating, sleeping, and lounging on the Bubbleware which was stationed around the festival. Some guests even brought the Bubbleware right up to the front of the crowd during the show!

bubbleware TI 2

Written by Rebar

October 25th, 2011 at 10:54 am