Good news: The resurgence of Refinery29’s female-empowered wonderland, 29Rooms, is back just in time for New York Fashion Week! After the success of the media brand’s first immersive fun house last year—there was a giant bouncy house in the shape of a handbag, you guys—you’re invited to submerge yourself in it’s whimsical, wonderful world (for free!) once again.
According to R29’s cofounder and Executive Creative Director Piera Gelardi, this year’s maze-like wonderland is bigger, bolder and better than ever while reppin’ a new theme: “Powered by People,” which is fitting, since the rooms were brought to life last year with folks’ writing on the walls and posing for photos. “This year, we’re taking this idea to the next level in how the audience powers each room, whether it’s by lighting up the dance floor with their movements or playing the role [of] artist and creating their own artwork,” says Gelardi.
The selfie nirvana is housed in a larger (80,000 square feet) exhibition space with new concept rooms that lead into each other (it’s a choose-your-own-adventure game!) plus additional activations throughout the space. Refinery29 worked with a new set of creators and innovators (e.g., Michael Kors and Nicola Formichetti), and there are some sweet tech advancements. “One of the rooms is a full virtual reality experience using Tilt Brush by Google,” says Gelardi. “You can literally draw your own world on a virtual canvas and live in it. Google has never put this feature in public hands before.”
Other highlights include Perrier’s Beyond the Bubbles room that’s filled with, well, bubbles; the Channel Kindness space, which explores what the world would be like if only nice things were said; and an installation featuring Broad City star and real-life illustrator Abbi Jacobson, in which you can draw an object that defines you. There’s a GURLS TALK space that’s filled with phones—pick one up to listen, and learn from women’s stories of overcoming obstacles—and when the urge to bust a move hits, head to the clubby Just Dance room by Tinashe and Phhhoto. You can listen to two never-heard-before tracks by Tinashe, there’s an LED reactive dance floor, and you can take your picture using Phhhoto's technology that will project your image onto the walls.
Word to the wise: Make sure to arrive early (the line last year was ginormous) and R.S.V.P.! Luckily, there will be line-adjacent entertainment, including free Refinery29 AtlMoji tats from Tattly, scratch-off prize tickets and more. R29 is also getting local bars and restaurants in the ’hood involved like Fine & Raw and Falansai, which are offering surprises and discounts when you mention Refinery29.
29Rooms is at 8 Ingraham St in Brooklyn Fri 9—Sun 11 noon–8pm (refinery29.com/29rooms). Free.
Check out photos from some of our favorite rooms below!
SEE YOU in collaboration with Daniel Rozin. The artist created pieces, which interact and react to the viewer's movement.
WIG OUT in collaboration with RuPaul. Try on out-of-this-world hair styles inside this whimsical salon.
JUST DANCE in collaboration with Tinashe and PHHHOTO. Light up the LED dance floor while listening to two never-heard-before tracks from Tinashe. Don't forget to smile! PHHHOTO will be taking your picture and projecting your image on the walls.
THE ART OF BEAUTY with Ryan Burke. Turn your face into a masterpiece by standing behind "filters" created by the talented makeup artist.
PANDA-MONIUM with Nicola Formichetti's Nicopanda. Relive the glory days of your youth by playing in this ball pit full of pandas!
YOU-NIVERSE with Radiant Human. Transport to outer space inside this galactic installation. Enter the dome for an aura photo courtesy of Radiant Human.
GURLSTALK with Adwoa Aboah. The model and activist inspired this large-scale room with more than 500 telephones hanging from the ceiling. Pick one up and listen to personal stories and revelations from women such as Cara Delevingne, Tali Lennox, Erica Garner and more.
FIND YOUR FUROCIOUS with Charlotte Simone. Snuggle up inside this room, where you can pet the walls, try on fuzzy scarves and strike a pose. You can be soft and fierce at the same time.
SHOW YOUR PRIDE with Kate Moross. Celebrate pride and #loveislove by posing for photos beneath this giant, glowing rainbow.
CELEBRATE YOU in partnership with Papyrus. Play with iconic Papyrus materials and create a whimsical GIF. You can even mail a letter of kindness and good wishes to an unsuspecting guest while you're there.
Photographs: Lauren Spinelli.