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.
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.
Rebar’s last stop in our whirlwind tour was City Hall, where Matthew Passmore spoke as part of the Next Level speaker series.
We felt right at home in Austin and hope we contributed to “keepin’ it weird”.
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.
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.
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
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!
Check out this mouth-watering map of the contiguous United States, comprised solely of the nation’s 240 million individual road segments. Other spatial characteristics emerge from this minimal, highly specific data set–a terrain of urban and rural areas, mountain ranges, valleys, and water bodies. The map, All Streets, was created by Boston-based Fathom Information Design and can be purchased as a print, of which half the proceeds go to Kiva, a global microfinancing non-profit.
Rebar’s Blaine Merker is a featured speaker at the Contemporary Jewish Museum’s next gallery talk, Green City “Mix Tape”, on April 5th at 6:30pm. (Rebar’s “Nomadic Grove” is part of the Do Not Destroy exhibition, and can be seen in Jessie Square outside the museum.) From the event’s website:
San Francisco is on the forefront of green city design, adapting new ways to integrate urban life with the need for beauty, open space, and beneficial habitats. Envision the city of the future through a live mix of short and captivating talks by artists, designers, architects, and environmentalists. Hear from urban birding champion Dominik Mosur, who opens our eyes to the birds that migrate through San Francisco; Rebar’s Blaine Merker, sharing the vision behind the Parklet movement; Adam Berman, executive director of Urban Adamah, connecting Jewish values to urban agriculture; SPUR’s Ben Grant on green building density; and artist Topher Delaney on medicinal and edible urban gardens. Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Do Not Destroy: Trees, Art, and Jewish Thought.
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.
Rebar’s Blake Hudelson and Kristin Saunders are involved in a new exhibit entitled Working Textiles at Rock Paper Scissors Gallery in Oakland. Working Textiles explores exciting new methods of making, replacing the systems traditionally created through looms and knitting patterns with algorithms and computer modeling.
All of the projects use methods of digital fabrication, with some involving responsive systems and robotics. These new textiles are digitally cut from plywood, plastics, and fabrics, and are adaptable in their size and shape.
The exhibit is on display March 1 – 29, 2012 at Rock Paper Scissors Gallery 2278 Telegraph Avenue Oakland, CA
Rebar is hiring … for two positions!
We are excited to announce that we are seeking two outstanding individuals to join our growing team of 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. Rebar’s reputation in the arenas of art and design is outsized compared to our studio size. Though our image is often rightly associated with guerrilla tactics, we have developed a professional design studio that is taking on some of the most interesting projects in the modern urban landscape. Our clients include museums, public agencies, private companies, neighborhood groups, architects and developers and arts organizations. Within the studio, we have a fluid and democratic structure that allows for maximum collaboration. We believe that the human environment—public space in particular—should be infused with ecological knowledge, resilient to changing social conditions, responsive to creative impulses, and filled with opportunities for benevolence, conviviality, and delight. We design to make that happen.
1. Associate Designer/Project Manager (full-time, contract)
We are seeking energetic and well-rounded applicants who have a vision and a passion for the life of the commons and highly developed spatial and visual communication skills to turn their imaginations into real things. The right candidate operates in the sweet spot of professionalism, confidence, imagination and a sense of humor.
Skills and Qualifications
- Degree in architecture, landscape architecture or engineering.
- 2-5 years work experience in a professional design studio.
- Fluency in AutoCad, solid understanding of construction sets and drawing standards.
- Familiarity with construction detailing, tectonics, materials, products and finishes.
- Understanding of the trades including building and fabrication processes.
- Ability to render and compose professional presentations in Adobe CS.
- Ability to communicate and develop ideas through hand sketching.
- Understanding of standard design practices including professional communication, record keeping, meeting minutes, etc.
- Minimum proficiency in a digital 3D modeling program such as Sketchup, Rhino or Solidworks.
- Knowledge of budgeting and project management procedures.
- Experience managing other designers desirable but not required.
2. Bookkeeper/Office Manager (part-time, contract)
We are seeking an energetic, design-savvy bookkeeper and office manager. Bookkeeping experience and knowledge of Quickbooks software necessary, experience managing a small office a big plus. Basic knowledge of design or the creative process desired but not necessary. A quick learner and self-starter able to multitask in a dynamic and creative workplace will thrive in this environment. Perfect for a bookkeeper with an interest in design, or a designer with a background in bookkeeping.
Skills and Qualifications
- Education: BA/BS/BFA or bookkeeper training preferred.
- 1–3 years bookkeeping experience.
- Facilities management or office coordination a plus.
- Proficient in Mac software, MS Office necessary, knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite a plus.
- Strong work ethic – does what it takes to get the job finished properly.
- Thinks ahead and works on needs before they arise.
- Very self-motivated and articulate with excellent written, verbal, and presentation skills.
- Enjoys being part of a fast-paced creative collaborative team.
- Gets along well with others and genuinely wants to help and support others.
- Strong attention to detail and quality.
3. How to Apply:
A) Download the PDF for the position that interests you:
B) Submit all of the information requested in the PDF as directed
C) These positions remain open until filled. No Phone calls please!
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!
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.
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.
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!
Rail like it’s never been bent before
Rebar’s John Bela was recently in DC to be part of a session organized by the National Endownment for the Arts (NEA), City Parks Alliance, National Capital Planning Commission, and Trust for the National Mall at the National Archives. Jason Shupbach, NEA Director of Design, moderated the panel and led a discussion about new exciting models that can guide the future of public space, including ”evolutionary parks,” which are older spaces that have creatively adapted to new uses, and “revolutionary parks” like parklets, which dramatically diverge from what’s been created before.
ASLA The Dirt
The Future of Public Space: Evolution and Revolution
Greater Greater Washington
Designers try to keep the Mall “grand and personal”
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.
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.