We are a creative placemaking agency operating at the crossroads of community development, urban design, art and public intervention. We create the conditions for engaging, experimental and playful encounters to connect people to place.
Gap Filler was started when friends Ryan Reynolds, Coralie Winn and Andrew Just created a series of grass-roots community events in the aftermath of the 2010 Ōtautahi earthquake. They pooled their creativity and resources to help support the people around them, many of whom were in crisis.
As a series of successful public events and activations gained wider attention, the team was asked to share their experiences and expertise as the work of city regeneration began.
Gap Filler has grown from simple beginnings via actions that exemplified guerrilla-style adaptive urbanism into an international creative placemaking consultancy.
With more than a decade of placemaking in the public realm in cities and places across Aotearoa New Zealand and internationally, our work explores how to engage people in creative ways to shape and reimagine their places, grow civic participation and reimagine city-making through experimentation in pursuit of a better future.
Our work has been widely recognised through awards and in the media, and drawn the attention of clients from Australia to Europe.
Our testing ground is Ōtautahi Christchurch, where since 2010 our prolific and diverse output has invited people to experiment, engage in and reshape a place that underwent vast and rapid change post-quake.
Drawing on this evolutionary experience, we deliver strategies, installations and support services all around Aotearoa New Zealand and the world as placemaking consultants.
We are a registered Charitable Trust and Ākina-certified social enterprise – all the profits we make from our consultancy work are reinvested to support our work in communities around Aotearoa.
Our point of difference is our values-based approach. Our relationships and creative partnerships are central to our success. We are adaptable, reliable and our values shine through in all we do.
- Sustainable Business Awards Social Impactor Award 2021 winner
- Place Leaders Asia Pacific Awards, 2021 Large Scale Place Project Award, Placemaking at One Central
- Ryan Reynolds, New Zealander of the Year nominee, Sanitarium New Zealand Innovator of the Year, 2019
- Best Soft Power Activation, nominee, 2016, by Lord Culture (London)
- City to City Barcelona FAD Award, 2016, for Eyes on the City as one of the top three global Learning Initiatives in the City
- International Award for Public Art, finalist, for the Pallet Pavilion, 2015 (China/US)
- New Zealand Innovator’s Awards, finalist, for Innovation in Media, Music and Entertainment, 2015
- Coralie Winn, New Year’s Honour list, Queen’s Service Medal for Service to the Arts, 2015
- Coralie Winn (Gap Filler Director and Co-Founder), Finalist for NEXT Woman of the Year (Arts) 2015
- BEST Design Awards, Silver (Exhibitions and Temporary Installations category) for the Pallet Pavilion, 2013
- Australasian Dulux Colour Award, for Manchester St Monopoloy, 2013
- Tertiary Education Union Award of Excellence to co-founder Ryan Reynolds, 2012
- SHAC (Sustainable Habitat Challenge) Award, 2012
- Sustainable Business Network Social Innovation Awards, 2012
- Resene Architectural Design Awards, Finalist for Dance-O-Mat, 2012
- Civic Trust Award 2011
- Mayor’s Earthquake Service Award, 2011
Gap Filler People
Gap Filler staff, Board members and the People behind the projects
We encourage and promote strong and flourishing communities, by giving people a chance to participate in creative projects that shape the places around them. Communities are strongest when members are working together.
We are leaders, expressing our values through fearless implementation. Whether blazing a new trail, keeping it in good order, motivating people to follow it, or telling stories along the way – we lead from the front, middle or back with clear purpose and intent.
Resourcefulness to us means a commitment to all R’s and full lifecycle thinking in everything we do. It also means valuing people’s time and energy (often beyond project budgets), and constantly searching for ways to develop community resources.
We value trying out new things and not repeating ourselves, taking calculated risks to lead by example. We challenge ourselves to keep stretching boundaries, and innovating in new ways to grow community in any context.
Collaboration unlocks creative potential. We believe in seeking out partners to implement ideas together, as well as cooperating to realise others’ ideas. We often act as ‘translator’ to bring disparate groups together, finding a common language and promoting shared understanding.
We esteem the spirit of innovation, exploring new ways of engaging, creating and realising ideas, honouring and promoting creative practice and process. Playfulness is our niche: we use surprise and delight in abundance, and try to merge optimism and critical thinking.
We strive to honour the Treaty of Waitangi/Te Tiriti in our projects, approach and relationships. We believe in honouring the stories and histories of our places – Ōtautahi Christchurch and Aotearoa New Zealand. We seek to always do better and understand that we still have much to learn.
We recognise the importance of mana whenua as kaitiaki of Aoteaora. We seek to practice kaitiaki tanga in our placemaking work to make our places and people healthier and better connected to one another.
There are, these days, a lot of people interested in the area of placemaking. A vitally important part of what it needs to be, in order to be truly effective, is to know the why. Gap Filler have been a compass point for me since I started in this work – reminding me of the importance of humour, generosity, deep thinking and courage. Their ability to straddle strategic thinking and effective on-the-ground outputs, and everything in between, make them a unique and vital leader in this, ever expanding, field of trying to make places better for people.