Doxa Rebar via Blog
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.
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.
We just got a copy of Taschen’s 2012 Street Art Calendar, featuring uncommissioned urban art projects everywhere! A photo of Rebar’s very first Park(ing) Day in 2005 is featured on Week 16.
Emerging designers, artists and urban instigators take note: the Rebar studio in San Francisco is now accepting applications for Apprenticeship positions starting early in 2012. Actual start date and duration is flexible, but we do have an application process. Applicants must be available at least two days per week. To be considered for an interview, send us a portfolio and fill out our Apprenticeship questionnaire, available here.
Rebar will be accepting 2-3 applicants to join its workforce of eight talented staff next year. The experience is fun, varied, rigorous and involves a wide range of pursuits from pushing pixels with a mouse to pushing logs onto an island with heavy machinery. Previous apprentices have included international graduate students, builders, architects, landscape architects, urban planners and artists. We guarantee an interesting time.
Please send us your materials by December 31, 2011. Questions and submissions to apprenticeships [at] rebargroup.org.
Rebar recently traveled to South America to participate in a conference hosted by the municipality of Chacao, Caracas, VZ entitled Sustainable City: environmental management and risk as a promoter of development.
We were part of a group of international participants that included Allan Lavell, PhD. in Economic Geography at the London School of Economics and Political Science; Jose Rosas Vera, Dean of the Faculty of Architecture at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile; Shimoji Kuniki from Okinawa, Japan; Jean-Pierre Moure from Montpelier, France; Leila Taouil Mancia from Curitiba, Brasil; and Juan David Arango Gartner from Manizales, Venezuala. The conference was hosted by Ana Liz Flores, President, Civil Protection and Environment, Chacao, who presented “Chacao experience. Towards the city as possible.”
John Bela from Rebar presented “Elasi(city): User generated urbanism and the adaptive metropolis”, focusing on three tools used in user generated urbanism; the temporary intervention, interim use, and iterative placemaking.
Following the conference we were led on a fantastic tour of the municipality of Chacao and some of the innovative projects creating public space in this dense city of 6 million inhabitants. Caracas contains large areas of both formal and informal development. We visited some of the great new streetscapes, public plazas, theater buildings and public parks created by the passionate urbanists in Chacao.
The following day we toured areas in downtown Caracas and then ascended into the Barrio San Agustin to check out the recently completed Metrocable, a gondola lift system integrated into the city’s public transport network.
On the last day of the trip we were invited by a group of artists and architects to participate in a brainstorming workshop at Ecodar hosted by Carolina Tinoco. Attendees included LAB.PRO.FAB, Bisa Urbana, Micra, and Penelope Plaza and Luis Bergolla from Conciencia Visual. Each of us presented briefly on our work and then discussed ways of sharing tactics. Several important themes emerged from the day including the necessity to engage with city residents at the level of their sense of responsibility as citizens. We discussed some of the challenges facing the city of Caracas such as the fear of being in public space due to violence, the dominance of car culture, and the necessity to integrate informal developments into the city’s infrastructure and services.
At the end of the session, John Bela led a public space Kecak (a rythmic vocal chant from Bali) workshop, and we tested the social codes that govern various public spaces in the city.
Overall it was an amazing group of people and an incredible experience. We are so grateful to Diana Lopez and Ana Liz Flores of the Municipality of Chacao for inviting us to the conference, and to Sandra Zuniga and Carolina Tinoco for introducing us to the amazing artists, designers, and urbanists of Caracas.
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.
The name alone makes you want to check out what these guys do. And what they do is pretty neat:
Using inexpensive DIY techniques, we seek to change how people see the world in environmental, social, and political terms. We are activists, educators, technologists, and community organizers interested in new ways to promote action, intervention, and awareness through a participatory research model.
Thx Kristin for the find.
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.
Mimi Zeiger of Design Observer has started an ongoing series on DIY Urbanism called “The Interventionist’s Toolkit.” In each part, she addresses common themes and examples of DIY Urbanism, such as temporal cultural events, urban gardening, and other public interventions.
Economic recessions have often produced great times of experimentation in architecture, beginning with the growth of theoretical practice and postmodern writings about space during the 1970s. Zeiger characterizes the current urban interventions as “Provisional, Opportunistic, Ubiquitous, and Odd Tactics in Guerilla and DIY Practice and Urbanism.” These typically involve architects, landscape architects, artists, and urbanists addressing the built environment from outside of conventional professional boundaries. The premise of these urban interventions is based on the desire to reclaim the streets as central public social spaces of neighborhoods. For Zeiger, “these projects hold at their heart a belief that change is possible despite economic or political obstacles, or disciplinary or institutional inertia.”
The most recent, Part 3, titled “Our Cities, Ourselves,” presents a series of dichotomies that arise when attempted to evaluate the effectiveness of urban interventions. Factors that significantly impact the execution and response of projects include the intent, source, audience, scale, and ultimate impact. Her article discusses dichotomies between institutions and grassroots organizations, social identity and politics, tactical practice and ideologies.
Unlike buildings, there are fewer quantitative ways to measure the effectiveness of urban interventions, especially temporal ones. Often this success is perceived in terms of an event’s popularity in media. For urban designers and interventionists alike, “there’s a real risk that the know-how to represent and market a project will trump the more substantial matters of content, impact and value.”
Zeiger ultimately comes to the conclusion that “the real success for DIY urbanism will be based not on any one project; it’ll happy when we can evaluate the movement based on outreach, economic impact, community empowerment, entrepreneurship, sustainability and design.”