Design

Color Factory Is Coming to NYC!

Color Factory New York 2018

The pop-up color experience Color Factory, which was a huge hit in San Francisco, is now coming to New York! Opening August 20th, the 20,000-square-foot interactive exhibit in Soho features 16 color installations by a roster of top artists and designers. “There are surprises around every corner,” says co-creator Jordan Ferney. “We designed what we wanted to experience.” Here’s a first look…

Color Factory New York 2018

Color Factory New York 2018

Guests flow through the exhibit, starting with Tokyo-based architect Emmanuelle Moureaux‘s ‘100 Colors.’ It features rows of dangling paper strips, inspired by traditional Japanese sliding screens.

Color Factory New York 2018

As you walk through, you read the fascinating histories behind 26 unusual colors written by Kassia St. Clair. Other rooms include rainbow cookies zipping by on a conveyor belt (help yourself!) and a walkable infographic.

Color Factory New York 2018

“Our goal is to make a kid think this the most fun thing in the entire world on a surface level,” says Jordan. “And for an adult to be fulfilled by the same things — like the light-up dance floor — but also the funny, special, even serious moments you have to look more closely to find.”

Color Factory New York 2018

“The pit, with 500,000 balls, feels like going to the ocean,” says co-creator Leah Rosenberg. “It’s fun and playful, but there’s also a white noise thing that ends up happening, which is calming.”

Color Factory New York 2018

Prop stylist Randi Brookman Harris curated the playful gift shop, with rainbow umbrellas and polka-dot socks. A portion of every sale goes to charity.

Color Factory New York 2018

Even colors of the building’s facade are from moments found around New York City. For example, the mint green is the color of the bike lanes on Chrystie Street, the faded orange is the color of the F train and the muted blue is the color of the Manhattan Bridge.

Color Factory New York 2018

Co-creators Erin Jang, Jordan Ferney and Leah Rosenberg

Color Factory opens to the public Monday, August 20th, in Soho. You can buy tickets here. You can also get their free neighborhood map at the door (no ticket required), which has 23 hidden Color Factory surprises throughout Manhattan, including an A.T.M. that spits out Jason Polan artwork, and a rainbow bench in a secret garden, where you’ll find a telephone number to a guided color meditation. “It feels like a scavenger hunt,” says Jordan. “We hope this experience will help people to start recognizing the magic in their everyday lives.”

P.S. Toby and Anton’s guide to NYC, and a hidden playground in Manhattan.

(Ball pit and dance floor photos from Color Factory. All other photos by Christine Han for Cup of Jo.)

  1. Alexis says...

    I am going to this tonight with such mixed feelings. I was not going to go at all, but my son ate the Instagram bait while he was scrolling through my feed with me and got so excited. It does look like a lot of fun, I’m excited to support artists, and I’m glad that some of the proceeds from the gift shop go towards charity. But I feel like I could have used the money spent on tickets on something more fulfilling and enriching somehow. As long as the kid has fun, I guess it’ll be worth it.

  2. Lisa says...

    I am relieved to see that we have so many critical thinkers in the group. While this seems like a fun activity, I agree with the folks that view this through something other than ‘rose colored glasses’. It brings up so many issues we face in society today: environment and waste, social media, and the widening gap between those who have and those who have not. Thanks to all of you who are brave enough to bring up these issues!

  3. Nathalie says...

    I agree with some of the comments, I love colours and looks like fun but can’t help but thinking of this as Instagram Mecca, I can just picture people just posing everywhere ..I would too probably :) Would be fun if they allowed no phones in…just enjoying the experience in the moment, that would be a challenge.
    Also agree that the price is a little too expensive.

  4. Callie says...

    I sadly missed the SF museum (those tickets sold like hotcakes!) but I’d definitely go if I was in NYC. I’m so impressed by what these makers have achieved in creating a whimsical and profound experience with color as a focus. I can appreciate what others are saying about the high cost and Instagram-focus. Unfortunately art, like everything, costs a lot to make, and museums and other public places are heavily subsidized to keep admission accessible. As for the Instagram thing…it would be really cool to have a phone-free day at the Color Factory!

    • Ruth Painter says...

      I LOVE the idea of a phone FREE exhibition! Just to force everyone to simply experience it … 😍

  5. nadia says...

    I find the cost really prohibitive and it just makes me sad. It’s not something an average family can really afford to participate in. I find this more and more common in american society… that cultural and enriching experiences are almost only available to the rich. I dont know why, but I would have hoped/ expected (and maybe my expectation is totally unfair) that these bloggers and designers would make this much more accessible.

  6. Jessica Hack says...

    Did you see any children there? Our 3 yr old would love it, but want to make sure it’s cool with others.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes, it’s totally kid-friendly! i’m taking my boys in september.

  7. Asia says...

    Just got tickets for August 23! Very excited.

  8. Chelsea Collins says...

    This looks amazing! This reminds me a little of Meow Wolf in Santa Fe. https://meowwolf.com I live in Albuquerque and my family and I have visited Meow Wolf multiple times. It’s an immersive art exhibit and is insanely creative and fun for all ages! It’s difficult to explain, but so worth it. They are expanding to Denver and Las Vegas as well, so it’s exciting to see something from New Mexico making it’s way to bigger cities! Here’s an NPR piece about it: https://www.npr.org/2016/03/27/471732581/diy-artists-paint-the-town-strange-with-some-help-from-george-r-r-martin

    • Sara Montoya says...

      LOVE meow wolf! I’m an ex-santa fean and I grew up bowling in that building! Now whenever I go home with my two little kids to visit my parents, we all venture back in. So cool and I love that it is in my little hometown in such a forgotten state!

    • Alyssa says...

      Meow Wolf would be a great field trip for CoJ. I’m a high school teacher, and chaperoned an art trip to Santa Fe that included this immersive experience. I’m not sure who had more fun – my students or me!

  9. Come to LA!! That sounds incredible!!

  10. April says...

    Please come to LA!

  11. Cait says...

    It looks beautiful, but it would cost over $100 to take my three kids, even with the two year old being free, and that’s just cost prohibitive to me unfortunately.

    • Exactly my problem! Very expensive for a family. Prohibitive, sadly. However, I may try the scavenger hunt!

  12. stephanie says...

    I went to the one in San Francisco and it WAS SO GREAT! A friend and I went and we felt like kids again, running around, feeling goofy and fun. Honestly, I would recommend leaving the kids at home (I did) and going just adults at an adult time to get the most out of the exhibits and really enjoy the time in there. This was WAY better than Museum of Ice Cream, IMO, and they do not force you to move along at a certain speed like MOIce Cream.
    This is made my real artists working hard to create an experience.
    Support them!

  13. Natasha says...

    This looks like so much fun! I wonder if Jordan or Leah would be willing to share a source for the beautiful ocean-colored balls filling the ball pit? I would love to get some for my daughter, it looks like very zen compared to the bright balls that are usually sold for ball pits!

  14. Kat says...

    I went to the Color Factory with a couple girlfriends when it was in San Francisco and absolutely loved it. Sure we took some photos, but I wouldn’t say it was superficially “only a photoshoot” or just for people who “like instagram and hashtags.” We had a really fun, super joyous day – I felt like a little kid. I think if you want to have a skeptical attitude you certainly can, but in a place with that much happiness it will probably be hard to maintain!

  15. Eloise says...

    My husband and I have been *arguing* (to put it mildly) over exterior paint colors. “Bike Lane” for shutters/trim for the win!!!! Thanks, CoJ.

  16. Meredith says...

    We already have our tickets (taking our 2 year old!). We can’t wait.

  17. Trish O says...

    Let me know when it comes to Chicago. It really should come to Chicago.

  18. Does anyone know how long its supposed to last? I cannot find any info on this… I’m not local anymore but would LOVE to see it!

  19. Jackie says...

    Just bought tickets and so excited to take our daughters – but whoa $130 for three tickets was a surprise!

    • Claire says...

      I agree, it’s so expensive! kinda sad…

  20. Alexis says...

    The proliferation of these Instagram-worthy “museums” makes me skeptical, especially because of the price. With that money, I could travel with my family outside of the city to Storm King or Dia: Beacon. Or I’d expect it to be not so crowded! I hate being rushed through these things or being squashed up a bunch of people trying to take photos of the same thing. I asked my friend who went to it in SF with two kids if it was worth it and he replied, “If you like Instagram and hashtags.” Also, he had a tip: go as early as possible before the ball pit gets hot and sweaty!

    I’m still interested to hear your take on it – it does look like a lot of fun. So maybe I can still be swayed :)

    • Sarah says...

      I went to the one in SF with my two small children. – a baby and a 3 yr old. I HATED the experience. Luckily the baby was free and she just sat in her carrier the whole time anyways – but I assumed it would be a fun thing to do with the 3 yr old for an hour or so. I spent the entire hour ushering him away from other people’s Instagram pictures. There was a room filled with confetti that slowly dropped from the ceiling. If you look at pictures this seems so fun – for adults and children. But my son got to spend maybe 15 seconds playing in there before we were glared at by the next person in line – who pretended to play while a friend took their picture. It was the same for every single installation. It was like no one was actually having a good time – they were all just faking a good time for social media. We left in a bad mood and with significantly lighter wallets. Don’t bring little kids here – its definitely not for them.

    • My sister and I went to the one in SF with our 1 and 2 year old boys and we LOVED it. I’m sorry to read that Sarah had a bad experience with her little ones. I went at 10:30am on a Tuesday and it didn’t feel crowded and we didn’t feel rushed. If I were in NY I would absolutely go again. And yes, it is a wonderful place to take photos and add your hashtags and it’s also super fun if you don’t. Relax and enjoy.

  21. Thanks for sharing! We just bought tickets and booked flights to NYC from Ann Arbor, Michigan (Detroit)!

  22. So fun! I’ll have to check it out when we go to NYC next month!

    Paige

  23. Tabby says...

    Reporting from San Francisco here, the Color Factory was a lot of fun. Definitely better than its copycats like the Museum of Ice Cream. My advice is to go on a weekday when kids are in school (unless of course you are taking yours) and go with a friend – it’s actually fun to do as an adult.

  24. It’s an amazing news for The Color Factory to come to New York. I love the way they put new meaning to design and art along with all the effort for social welfare. I am very excited to see what they are bringing this time to New York.

    • Amy says...

      seconded. another thing they do is feature art from LAND gallery……. https://landgallery.org/james-rosa/
      LAND studio is a unique nonprofit day habilitation program that teaches life skills through the modality of art. LAND serves as both studio and gallery for 16 adult artists with developmental disabilities.

  25. Nina says...

    oh my gosh it sounds amazing. can we get the phone number for the meditation?

  26. Michelle says...

    I hope this continues to travel, even if it’s only on a smaller scale! So beautiful. Come to Denver!

  27. Oooh, thanks for this. Just bought tickets!

  28. Carrie says...

    Is there any way to purchase shop items online?

  29. Cate says...

    I don’t live anywhere near NYC, but after seeing this I am definitely inspired to paint the walls in my home something other than a safe neutral beige or grey. So beautiful!

  30. Meredith says...

    Do you know if any of those store items are available to purchase elsewhere? I unfortunately will not be able to see the Exhibit. 😢

  31. Christine says...

    San Francisco was so fun for our family. We are now planning our daughter’s 12th birthday party based on our visit.

  32. Paula says...

    unpopular opinion here but this just seems like such a waste of plastic and paper… I personally get feelings of joy from nature and naturally occurring colors, not neons, and maybe I was destroyed to the experience by all the instagram posts about it but it seems just that-an art for the instagram crowd curated with an aesthetic of select few instagram influencers. don’t burn me at the stake. just my three cents.

    • Lisa says...

      I am relieved to see that we have so many critical thinkers in the group. While this seems like a fun activity, I agree with the folks that view this through something other than ‘rose colored glasses’. It brings up so many issues we face in society today: environment and waste, social media, and the widening gap between those who have and those who have not. Thanks to all of you who are brave enough to bring up these issues!

  33. It looks even cooler than the one we had here in SF. I didn’t think that was possible!

  34. Ashley says...

    Thanks for this! My husband and I will be visiting NYC from Minneapolis in September. Can’t wait!

  35. Oh I wish I could be there! How long will the pop-up run?

  36. Everything those women touch turns to gold! ✨ Big fans of all three of them! So excited to see this sneak peak! 💜💛💙❤️🧡🖤💚

  37. Mindy says...

    The Color Factory reminds me of a TED talk I viewed recently by Ingrid Fettel Lee on the aesthetics of joy. She particularly talks about the use of color to evoke feelings of joy.

    https://www.ted.com/talks/ingrid_fetell_lee_where_joy_hides_and_how_to_find_it/transcript?language=en

    The Color Factory looks amazing. Using art, color and space so that kids and adults can experience feelings of wondrous surprise, fun, delight, magic and joy – I’m thankful there are people like these women and artists creating such positive energy for our world.

    • A Martin says...

      I thought the same thing!! Pure joy ❤️If this could be office space, imagine the possibilities.

    • Heather says...

      Really looking forward to checking out this TED Talk! Thanks for sharing <3

  38. Amy says...

    Incredible!

  39. Rams says...

    Absolutely love it, although the experience is slightly diminished by everyone and their mother just taking insta-worthy pictures the whole time instead of taking it in.

    • I would love it if Jo could do a post on phone pics vs. enjoying the moment. I always have to put that burden of worry down. There’s a children’s book about a Zen panda who gave me a good vision. It’s now become a quick thought process, and then I am free & relaxed. Best wishes!

  40. I hope admission will get extended through October!

  41. Emily Rummo says...

    I went to Color Factory in San Francisco. It claims to be all about “color” but I say hogwash. I experienced it as a real-life commentary on social media – people’s inability to resist documenting and sharing their best selves. Every room is full of people taking selfies, taking group shots, and essentially doing things for the photo. Even as you enter, you sign these media waivers and you are encouraged to use their hashtags. There is a #selfie room littered with photos of selfies, which a computer/printer churns out constantly. It’s not subtle! But it is provocative. What would this experience be without your iphone? Leave yours at home and see.

    • Karen says...

      I had a similar reaction too after visiting the SF one. I think “provocative” is a great word. The whole experience really made me think about the instagramification of the world and of fine art that is happening right now; which is fascinating. It’s either a genius, ironic, thought provoking, internet-age-pop-art, comment on society or a fluffy, shallow, piece of “let’s all just have fun” capitalist candy. I left being unable to decide which :) which may just be the most interesting thing about it.

    • I agree. I hate to be a cynic, but I see this as just a giant social media set piece. Same as Museum of Ice Cream. Now, if you had to leave your phone at coat check…that would be an amazing experience! Then people might actually find themselves immersed in the aesthetics rather than trying to capture them.

  42. virginie says...

    I’ve been following Jordan on social media, and this seems fascinating!
    Sounds like a great excuse to drive to NY for a week end ?!
    For how long will it be open in New york?

    • Becs says...

      Yes, I second this – how long will it be open?? :)

    • Shannon says...

      From the purchase tickets section, it appears they are available through the end of September.

  43. jan says...

    This is SUCH a great idea, like, next level! I read about it a while ago and I HOPE they come to Seattle!

  44. Mona says...

    Thank you for the heads up! Just bought tickets for the our wedding anniversary morning, and I can’t wait to see the exhibit.

  45. Eleanor says...

    Awesome! Dropping my daughter at college and will buy tickets for us. Thanks for the tip!.

  46. Olivia says...

    beautiful!!! Be the perfect spot for a picture!
    \

  47. diana k. says...

    I’m skeptical about all these “museums” and experiences popping up. I could see how this might actually be fun for kids, but you go to these things and see that they are total adult instagram-traps. It’s great that they’re featuring artists’ work, but they’re only featuring work that’s easily digestible, eye-catching, and has immediate mass-appeal. Despite the fear of sounding elitist, I can’t help but feel like it’s one big marketing gimmick, especially when admission is a whopping $38. Good for them, I suppose.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      they do have lots of layered surprises and delights in this one, and thoughtful, beautiful design. i didn’t have a chance to go to the SF one, but jordan says the NYC one has even more moments for adults and lots of serious artists. we’re actually going to the press preview today, i’ll report back!

    • Heather says...

      I came to the comments to see if anyone else was thinking what I was thinking… I agree, Diana. I myself am torn because I guess there’s nothing wrong in people wanting to take cute photos in stylized, colorful settings, and I’m sure this experience is indeed artfully designed. But this also feels like it’s a gimmick to sell something that is wildly successful on Instagram. And maybe that’s not a bad thing??? but it does feel like it’s preying on our already phone/social media-obsessed culture.

  48. Liz says...

    I don’t live in New York so I won’t be able to experience this, but just reading about it lifted my whole day. The color! The inspiration! I’m so excited that people will get to go here and then come back out into the world change. So amazing.

  49. Lesley says...

    I can’t wait to go!!! I am visiting New York for my birthday in September, and the color factory will be the icing on the cake.