Color Factory – New York’s Experiential Art Museum is an Instagrammer’s Paradise

  • 28 Jun '19
  • 10:00 am by Nuriyah Johar
Color Factory’s signature ball pool room

NYC’s SoHo witnessed a burst of vibrancy last August with the opening of Color Factory, an interactive art museum intended to be a celebration of colour and creativity. Color Factory was conceptualized as a 4 week pop up exhibit in San Francisco, which gained immense popularity and went on for 8 sold-out months. From there, it sprung into a full-fledged museum in NYC comprising 16 room exhibits spread across 20,000sq ft.

An interactive installation by artist Lakwena Maciver

Headed by founder Jordan Ferney of Oh Happy Day, Color Factory is a result of collaborative efforts amongst various local artists “inspired by the colours of the city”. From an ombre floating balloon room and a light-up dance floor to a pale blue, room-sized ball pit, the 16 room exhibits are distinctive and highly imaginative, bound by the central theme of colour. “It was the concept of seeing colour around the city, especially in New York City where you think of it as being grey,” says Jordan Ferney. Hues of pastels, fluorescents, and iridescence are splashed across this vast, experiential space.

A luminous dance floor

It comes as no large surprise then, that Color Factory’s wild success has partly to do with its ‘Instagrammability’. With prismatic backdrops and unique props, the exhibits have been engineered to appeal to social-media-centric sensibilities. Furthermore, the multiple cameras and photo booths integrated throughout the space eliminate the need for one to have to click their own photos. Each guest is given a card with a personalized barcode, which they can scan along their journey to take photos at various exhibits.

Vibrant exhibits engineered to appeal to social-media-centric sensibilities

A colour map is given to each visitor at the end of their tour. The map pairs particular hues with landmarks or institutions across downtown Manhattan, which transcends the Color Factory experience beyond the museum to the streets of New York. 

Conveyor belts laden with colorful desserts form a part of the experience


Vivid shades splashed across this vast, experiential space


Multiple cameras and photo booths are integrated throughout the space


Photographs Courtesy: Color Factory 


Opium, designed by Renesa Studio, is located at Mumbai Airport Terminal 2, Photograph Credit: Niveditaa Gupta.
A small space of 215 sq.ft, inside Mumbai Airport Terminal 2, was to be designed as a retail store for the eyewear brand, Opium. The client approached Renesa Architecture Design Interiors Studio, a New-Delhi based firm, to conceive an eye-catching design, one that would make a bold statement. “The client wanted something really bizarre, something so simple, yet so intimidating  that it captures each and every possible traveller for a second more than the other stores,” informs Sanchit Arora, the Head Architect at Renesa Studio The design of the store had to be conceptualized keeping in mind the irregular shape of the compact plot. Arora worked out a series of sketches to determine the spatial layout as well as the façade design. “The initial sketches started with the development of the funnel shape planning with the disfigured mass behind becoming the storage space and hence defining a flowing pattern for the retail path to the consumers coming in. The facade sketches show the different identities and ideologies that were thought about to create the funnel illusion as well as add brand identity to the store,” informs Arora. Along with developing the design concept, the layouts that were tried out also helped in resolving movement patterns, where the product displays would be, placement of the storage room and determining how the space usage could be maximized.  The final layout is uncomplicated, making efficient use of the given space. A simple gesture of placing a U-shaped wall defines 3 sides of the store while the front exhibits a double-arched entrance with the brand name ‘Opium’ displayed in a striking neon signage above. The remainder of the space at the back of the store has been designated for storage. Two large pivoting mirrors with the cashier’s desk in between them have been strategically placed in the centre, establishing a clear and streamlined pattern of movement for the guests within the store.
The space is bounded by a U-shaped wall on 3 sides with the double arched entrance in the front, Photograph Credit: Niveditaa Gupta.
Opium’s interiors are enveloped in a consistent pattern of 8×4 inch grids that dominate not just the wall and the floor, but even the cashier’s desk. This repetition has resulted in a strong design language. Random grids within the wall feature attached display shelves – the flip-flops. These shelves have been attached via hinges and each eyewear product is perched on each individual shelf, allowing customers to easily access them. Arora further informs us that the inspiration for the grid pattern stemmed from ‘Optical Art’ that essentially employs visual elements to provide a sense of optical illusion. The door to the storage room at the back is smartly camouflaged by seamlessly continuing the gridded pattern over it. 
The 8×4 inch grids create a strong design language for the interiors, Photograph Credit: Niveditaa Gupta.
On the left are the flip-flops, created to display the eyewear products, Photograph Credit: Niveditaa Gupta.
The door that leads to the storage room at the back, Photograph Credit: Niveditaa Gupta.
On the wall, the monotone palette has been paired with the Chartreuse colour, a striking shade that is 50% green and 50% yellow. This colour finds expression in randomly selected grids. Mirrors have been placed within some of the other grids as well. The combination of these colours paired with mirrors, within a predetermined geometric pattern, serves to visually elevate the wall. “The simple idea of creating flip – flops with 8 by 4 inches MDF panels and merging and reflecting through the two pivoting movable mirrors adds to the volumetric play of the interior curvature of the space and helps make the small space look bigger through a simple move,” says Arora.
The striking Chartreuse colour and the mirrors break the monotony of the monotone grids creating a visual allure, Photograph Credit: via Niveditaa Gupta.
Two large pivoting mirrors have been placed on either side of the cashier’s desk, Photograph Credit: Niveditaa Gupta.
Renesa Studio has steered away from conventional store design, rendering the limited space with a quirk and a distinct identity. With the introduction of the flip-flops, it also serves to provide the customers/travellers with an engaging experience within the store. “The Flip Flop is not merely about designing an optical store, it is to create an ambience in which public space and private space are deconstructed and placed in the same field to maintain a strong visual character,” concludes Arora.