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.
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”.
Rebar’s Showplace Triangle is featured in a recent commercial for LRG Clothing called Letting the Kids Play Part 2. Although it wasn’t designed for skating, the plaza occasionally ‘stacks functions’ as urban oasis and adventure playground.
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!
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
We are just moments away from installing Nomadic Grove at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in downtown San Francisco, as part of the upcoming exhibition, Do Not Destroy: Trees, Art, and Jewish Thought, opening February 16th. (more)
Our crew has been working around the clock on constructing gigantic planter modules, which are mobile, reconfigurable, gem-shaped islands sited at the museum’s entrance. Many thanks to Kristin Saunders, Noah Brezel, the Rebar family, and friends who have helped out in the shop in the past weeks.
Take a moment out of your day to sit calmly under a cypress, an oak, or an olive tree to contemplate their stoic demeanor amidst the city’s relentless motion.
Look out for these roving trees in Jessie Plaza at CJM, which will unveil on February 15th.
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.
A group from Rebar, Oikonos Ecosystem Knowledge, and habitat restoration experts Go Native headed out to Año Nuevo Island on November 8th & 9th to finish work on the island for the fall 2011 season. We are excited to report that the habitat ridge on the island was finally completed!
The ridge, which serves as a physical barrier for the California sea lions on the island as well as a blind for biologists studying the birds, now stands at six feet tall. Cormorants and other bird species make use of the ridge as nesting habitat because it provides excellent shade and a solid wind-break. The completed ridge will allow the birds to utilize their habitat without disturbance from the biologists and researchers who occasionally inhabit the island. The ridge is built out of all natural materials with no metal parts. Eucalyptus logs make up the wall and red cedar dowels were used to pin the logs together.
Aerial photo credit: Northern California Aerial Photography
Replanting of several species of native plants took place over the course of the fall and was also finished on the November 9th trip. We were happy to see the survival of several plant species from the previous year including yarrow, salt grass, and many more. We were able to supplement these with more native species including beach bur, salt grass, American dune grass, lizard-tail, coyote brush, beach morning glory, mock heather, beach strawberry, coast buckwheat, and dune tansey. Several species of seeds were also spread, among which were beach bur, yarrow, lizard-tail, coyote brush, mock heather, and Farallon weed.
For more information about the Año Nuevo Island Restoration Project please visit the project site.
Work has begun once again on the Año Nuevo Island Restoration project! Rebar, in collaboration with Oikonos Ecosystem Knowledge and expert habitat restorers GoNative, began prepping for Fall work on the island in early October. Last week the team moved 160 Eucalyptus logs out to the island. Local landowners were more than happy to allow the Eucalyptus on their land be removed and the Año Nuevo team was pleased to be able to repurpose this invasive species. These logs will be utilized in the construction of the last part of the habitat ridge. The ridge is itself thriving habitat for a number of bird species on the island, and it acts as both a physical and visual barrier between the habitat of the pinnepeds on the island and the Rhinoceros Auklet, a listed bird species of concern. Since the first planting last year, the indigenous flora on the island has done quite well; however, a small bit of replanting is also planned for this year to round out the restoration effort and to establish a long-lasting habitat for a healthy and biodiverse Año Nuevo Island.
Check out the below videos of the log move and look for future updates as the project continues!
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.
Bubbleware provided a great perch for both relaxing and people-watching during the Treasure Island Music Festival.
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!
Rebar traveled to Sydney, Australia in early October for Sydney Art & About, an annual arts festival that utilizes public spaces around the city of Sydney. The idea of Sydney Art & About is to create an interactive public art gallery in the streets, transforming the city itself into a living canvas. Evoking a response from residents of Sydney, whether it be to laugh, question, think, or simply smile, Art & About seeks to bring art to the forefront of the social conscience.
Rebar’s contribution to Art + About is Bubbleway — a modular, inflatable social furniture system designed specifically for Laneways 2011, the fifth installment of Laneway Art. Utilizing an inflatable system enclosed in a brightly colored skin, Bubbleway serves as a fun, comfortable, and inviting place to relax. The skin, which was designed in collaboration with the San Francisco-based messenger bag company Timbuk2, is a resilient ripstop nylon perfect for the urban playground. It was also made locally in San Francisco. Bubbleway modules can be reconfigured and adapted to support a variety of interactions and the space it is occupying. Bubbleway was created to encourage a rethinking of preconceived notions of public space, and to develop new forms of informal social interactions and play.
Other commissioned works for Art + About and Laneways included artists from around Australia and Americans Janet Echelman, whose work can be seen as locally as at SFO, Bay Area native Barry McGee, and Austin-based founder of Knitta Please, Magda Sayeg. Rebar would like to extend a profound thank you to the city of Sydney and to acknowledge the curators who brought us to Sydney, Amanda Sharrad and Justine Topfer for their hard work and commitment to experimental and innovative public art.
Bubbleway is available for viewing and playing on for free 24 hours a day from September 23, 2011 to January 31, 2011 and is located at Bulletin Place, Sydney, NSW 2000.