ColorFactory: San Francisco’s new immersive space passes with flying colours

Commonly coined as a magnet for Millennials, “Experiential” is truly the word of the moment. We are all aware of the successes of billion-pound start ups like Airbnb, Uber and WeWork, all of which are capitalise on getting us to and from these all important experiences and making sure we are oh so comfortable in the process. This is all supported by some seriously heavyweight stats too, according to the Harris Group, 72% of Millennials are more willing to part with their cash for hands-on events such a travel or skill sharing over buying physical items.

This doesn’t only apply to retailers, in fact inspiration for these spaces usually comes from playful pop-ups and concept spaces. 2016’s well documented hero was The Museum of Ice Cream, which quickly became NYC’s the hottest social ticket in town, complete with it’s sprinkle pit, neon signage and suspended plastic banana forest – need I say more? Visitors were literally queuing round the block, i-Phones in hand. Fusing nostalgia with big-time dairy cravings this experiential museum space garnered over 55k hashtags and 190k followers on their official Instagram.

2017 sees a new kid on the block, the ColorFactory. Every colour lovers dream, and billed as the ultimate pop-up experience celebrating a full spectrum of hues and shades.

Covering over 12,000 square feet, this full on colour wonderland is the brainchild of Oh Happy Day founder, Jordan Ferney  and designer Erin Jang and explores 15 large than life site specific original works of art, all housed over 2 stories.

Visitors are welcomed by the bold stripy frontage and enter into the registration zone wherein they are presented with a connected Color Factory card, linked to both their email address and cameras in each room. Visitors use the card to let the cameras know they’re ready to snap a photo, after which all pics are collated and automatically delivered to inboxes. The height of selfie convenience.

Each room within the building plays host to a different interactive colour experience, all artfully curated. Ranging from a giant klein blue balloon bath, upscaled colouring walls with forest green felt-tips to a colour cathedral where vistors are bathed in tinted light and invited to “sit, rest and contemplate colour” But the highlights have to be the huge sunny yellow ball pool, where adults and children alike are invited to swim through a sea of 220,000 glowing yellow orbs and the endless confetti room, again complete insta fodder.

This continued shift towards experiential spaces has of course pricked the ears of many retailers that are now faced with the challenge of getting consumers to re-engage with their product. Seemingly one of the answers to this is designating areas within stores that are packed with sharable and fun content, fully embracing digital – with simple colour led visuals and backdrops proving most popular.

Discussion around “Insta-ready retail” gets louder and louder, social media strategy is no longer an after-thought. Instead brands and institutions are evolving to closer align themselves with popular hashtagged topics, taking a leaf out of the ColorFactory’s book and specifically remodelling prime floor space for photo-sharing opportunities. #strikeapose

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