The public are bombarded with messaging on climate change and what they can do to play their part in mitigating it, on an almost daily basis. This means it can be hard for NGOs, local authorities and more to cut through the noise and highlight the importance of their respective initiatives in this space.
So how to stand out amongst the crowd? One way is to stage an interactive exhibit that brings the story of climate change to life. And that is exactly what Rainbar has achieved.
Created in a partnership between creative agencies Springtide Studios, Frank Lee, WeTheCity & Alex van der Meer Rainbar was developed to support existing city-level climate-mitigation initiatives.
“Amsterdam Rainproof, Water Sensitive Rotterdam and Waterschap Amstel, Gooi en Vecht are in the business of making our Dutch cities ‘rainproof’,” Eva Braaksma co-founder/design & art direction at Frank Lee told CIWEM's digital-content editor Miriam Habtesellasie.
“They give residents tips and tricks on how to transform their home, garden, rooftop or office building so that it will adapt to the changing climate. Because of heavy rainfall our sewage system can’t always handle all the water coming into it, which then leads to flooding in our streets.”
The Netherlands, along with the UK, Germany, and other parts of Western Europe, was severely impacted by flooding following heavy rainfall between 12th and 15th July 2021.
Rainbar makes it mark
Enter Rainbar a 2 x 3 meters and 3.70 meters high travelling bar that raises awareness about flooding and climate adaptation ‘in a high-profile and playful way’. Rainbar made its debut at the Rooftop Festival ROEF in 2018 and prior to the pandemic, the bar is currently in storage, would appear pop-up at festivals and events across the country, delighting, and soaking, more than 5,000 visitors and serving up over 500 litres of Rainbeer.
Eva elaborates on the experience Rainbar provides:
“With Rainbar we tell this story of climate change and how to adapt our city and homes. This is a serious subject, but we wanted to approach it in a ‘fun’ way which you can really experience,” she says.
“Rainbar is an activation where you step into a little bar, armed with a raincoat, when you press the big red button rain pours down, lightning strikes and there are thunderclaps all around you. Then a voice tells you that a city can’t hide, nor can we. So, you must make your city rainproof! It then tells you how to go about doing this and it all ends with you drinking beer made from rainwater.”
With Rainbeer on tap, it’s fitting that the bar’s tagline is a snappy ‘heavy shower = happy hour’.
And how has public reaction been to Rainbar? Overwhelmingly positively, says Eva.
“We’ve had amazing reactions to the bar. Often there has been a line in front of the bar and the managers were almost unable to have a break. Organisations are always very excited to have us. As an example, at the Huishoudbeurs home and interiors exhibition, the event manager picked this very bar for an interview with Amsterdam-based broadcaster NH Nieuws.”
While Eva admits that “it’s often hard to measure the impact” of campaigns such as Rainbar, what she has seen is people that are initially drawn in by the installation’s playfulness, surprise themselves by leaving armed with new knowledge on climate change once they leave.
Find more information about the Rainbar here.
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