Recent Posts


 A monumental sculpture for Portland, Oregon begins to take shape.

Since 2010, we have been developing a sculpture for the Clinton Street light rail station, along TriMet’s new Portland-Milwaukie light rail line. Situated between the Hosford-Abernethy and Brooklyn neighborhoods in Southeast Portland, the community expressed a desire for a piece that would serve as a beacon to the station, which is set back 50 feet from a six-way intersection.


Inspired by the lines and curves of abstract topological transit maps and the powerful materiality of rail, we designed a piece to celebrate both, with a soaring interlocking tower and seemingly impossible bends. To execute our vision, however, we would need to develop an entirely new method for bending railroad track to the impossible angles required by the piece. Luckily, we found a couple of fabricators in the Portland area who were up to the challenge – Jim Schmidt and Ken Mack.


3D print of the sculpture


The piece is scheduled for installation at the end of 2014 or in early 2015, and we recently took a trip to Portland to visit Jim and Ken and their team to check in on the progress. What we found was inspiring. The fabrication team has developed a cutting-edge method for bending railroad track into angles the material was never meant to achieve. The results are simple, refined, elegant and impossible. Behold:



Ken Mack’s outdoor fabrication shop near Portland, Oregon.




Fabricator Samantha “Sam” Nagmay standing with her handiwork






Summer at MoreLab

Welcome to the MoreLab studio in sunny West Oakland!

I’m Cindy Jian, one of the Apprentices this summer. A month ago I came to the studio, and was hooked. Arriving upon the studio, Matt greets me with a warm smile and shows me around the space. The front of the studio is a functioning office set up, with computers, digital software, and printers. A large white table stands off to one side–the “Conference Room”–Matt tells me. The latter half of the studio is filled with fabrication tools and ongoing projects. This is the hands-dirty area. A large worktable houses pieces of one of the current projects: pedestrian traffic modules for Handsignals, a permanent public artwork for the new McCoppin Hub plaza in San Francisco, as well drawings for assembly.

photo 2 (1)

Over the past month, I’ve seen how the office is well suited for the range of work, where we can be adjusting something on the computer one second, and then quickly prototyping the part in the next.

photo (2) above: Evan writing a program for sorting cut sheets and metal pickets.

photo (3)

above: MoreLab Lead Designer Elizabeth working with a fabricator to coordinate aluminum welding for a project


above: Dave Vick from AAA Welding, Elizabeth and Tim Kopra prepare to move Handsignals onto a flatbed truck with a crane.


above: the crane closing in on our roll-up door.


So far, it’s amazing to be part of a team of hard-working, multi-hat-wearing artist/designers who never cease to crank out whimsical art pieces that better our public space experiences and people’s lives. Stick around for more updates!


Groove Grove!

Groove Grove
, our latest social furniture installation, is now open in an exhibition at the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA). The exhibition, Vinyl: The Sound and Culture of Records explores the cultural and social meaning of vinyl records. Curated by René de Guzman and designed by OMCA’s Scott Moulton and MoreLab/Rebar’s Matthew Passmore, Vinyl includes a group listening area, where museum visitors can play records for a group of friends and other interested folks.

Inspired by the bean bag chairs found in groovy basement listening rooms across America and the world, Groove Grove comprises five 18-foot long bean bag modules that can be reconfigured by museum visitors to create a range of social spaces for optimal vinyl listening, socializing and play.



Groove Grove in action


Like many of our projects, Groove Grove was a collaborative effort, with Jeanne Henzel from Joona Creates providing design consultation and fabrication.

The Vinyl exhibition runs through July 27, 2014.



Stefan Gougherty and Elizabeth Marley share a laugh in the Grove


Children grooving in the Grove

Children grooving in the Grove





Handsignals announces the new McCoppin plaza

Handsignals announces the new McCoppin plaza


We are currently in full fabrication mode on a permanent public artwork – Handsignals – that will mark the entrance to McCoppin Hub, a new public plaza in a small leftover space on Valencia Street near Market in San Francisco.

Handsignals refers to the formal qualities of the numerous theater signs prevalent in the Mission District, and repurposes that vocabulary to “advertise” a new public space. Made of familiar pedestrian traffic signals and lettered brightly to mark McCoppin Hub as a new public space, Handsignals plays at the edge between art and advertising.


The New Mission Theater, an icon of Mission Street

The New Mission Theater, an icon of Mission Street


The north-facing side of the piece spells “McCoppin” in bright yellow cast aluminum lettering. On the south-facing side, Handsignals repositions the meaning of the common pedestrian traffic signal by replacing the familiar “red hand” and “walking figure” with custom symbols designed to represent themes deeply imbedded in Mission District culture.  The piece playfully explores the relationship between a community and its emblems, identity and its abstractions, the sign and its signifier. The modules will blink on and off in a slow, irregular pattern, creating new combinations of symbols in a never-ending sequence.


Handsignals in situ







MoreLab designer and fabricator extraordinaire Stefan Gougherty


Handsignals began as a Rebar project, but is now held in the steady hands of MoreLab. Installation at McCoppin Hub is currently scheduled for mid-May 2014. Come have a look!



Dia de los Muertos symbol peeks out from the MoreLab studio

Welcome to MoreLab :: A New Spinoff of Rebar



Welcome to MoreLab, a new art studio emerging from the world-renowned Rebar Art & Design Studio. Matthew Passmore, the original founder of Rebar, has created this new endeavor to continue the innovative art practice he originated in 2004.

MoreLab’s focus is on the practice of art – art in public, art in museums, art in galleries, art in space. Art that subverts the way art has been positioned in any of these contexts.

We have many rich and interesting projects on the boards. We are in your city. We are just down the street. We are around that corner you just remembered was there.

Stay with us as we continue to explore the intersection of art, design and more.