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The Loop Vol. 1 No. 35
29Rooms Special Edition

Refinery 29's 29Rooms is an interactive brand-curated funhouse of style, culture, and technology that lands in NYC just once a year. And, when it does, all of the creatives come out to play. Last week our own Creative Intelligence team members Laura Touysinhthiphonexay and Katie McBroom attended this year's third – and first ever pay-to-enter – execution, and are here to dish on their experience.

MOST INNOVATIVE

Light It Up, Symmetry Labs

Light It Up, Symmetry Labs

This room, created by tech company and design studio Symmetry Labs, caught our eye immediately. Imagine stepping inside a pulsating lightshow, complete with a DJ at the center conducting beats that coordinate with the visual spectacle - using their body. The beauty of this piece was that visitors were invited to dance along in the lit space, while one lucky guest danced in the center sensor box controlling the motion-activated light with their body movements. Our take: We applaud this room for incorporating cutting edge human-powered technology to immerse visitors in this sensory experience. This musical playground was one of the most successful attractions, for actually getting people to forget their inhibitions and cut loose in public.

  

MOST INSTAGRAMMABLE

Become the Masterpiece, Alexa Meade

Become the Masterpiece, Alexa Meade

This was the first installation to greet visitors at 29Rooms – and one of the most visually impactful. The space, designed by artist Alexa Meade, allowed visitors to become part of an art piece through four floor-to-ceiling, 360-degree painted scenes and coordinating costumes. With the walls as the canvas and guests as the masterpiece, it created the perfect formula for Instagram magic. Our take: Judging by the non-stop line and constant stream of social content that bubbled up from this room, it's clear that visitors seized every opportunity to share the experience - exactly what the room was created to do.

 

BEST PRODUCT PLACEMENT

Sonic Spin, Dyson

Don't Dodge This Backlash

Sonic Spin, a room brimming from top to bottom with spinning metallic pinwheels, blew us away. Dyson married interactive art with a product efficacy story, using their cult-classic Supersonic Hair Dryer to power the entire room and effectively bring their product proof to life in a highly visual way. Our take: Of all of the branded rooms, this one presented the product benefits in the most fun and interactive way. The message, while not as thought provoking as some of the other rooms, was very clear – Dyson products work.

 

MOST POWERFUL

The Future is Female, Madame Gandhi

The Future is Female room by electronic music artist, Madame Gandhi, was a vision of girl power. The electric yellow gym was complete with a punching bag symphony and gloves featuring women's rights-charged messaging. Attendees lined up outside the entrance to the room just to give their fiercest pose in the gorgeous gloves – getting in a few stress-busting power punches before scooting out as well. Our take: Although many rooms had strong and provocative messages to convey, this room was most successful at making sure it was heard by engaging attendee's minds, ears, and fists.

 

BEST PERSONALITY

The Beauty Carousel, Ulta Beauty

The Beauty Carousel, Ulta Beauty

Ulta's Beauty Carousel was a whimsical ride, complete with millennial pink unicorns as seats - truly speaking to the target demographic at 29Rooms. Once attendees completed their ride around the carousel, they were gifted a free product - which incentivized those brave enough to wait out the long line. Our take: This approach to celebrating the arrival of the brand's first store in Manhattan this fall was a bit surface-level, compared with the themes of the other rooms. But it worked in their favor – as, no matter your stance on millennial pink, it was simply impossible to miss this larger-than-life attraction.

 

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Casper's Pillow Fight Room

Casper's Pillow Fight Room

 

Behind The Flavor - Dunkin' Donuts Coffee at Home

Behind The Flavor - Dunkin' Donuts Coffee at Home

 

Eat Simple, Live Big - Lärabar

Eat Simple, Live Big - Lärabar

 

All in All?

29Rooms is exactly as described—a funhouse of creativity, capturing the minds and hearts of today's leading creatives. Every vignette is thoughtfully designed, with museum-style plaques explaining the vision for each room and paying homage to the creative and/or brand that brought it to life. It is also simply ALL ABOUT THE ‘GRAM. Every attendee was constantly snapping selfies, Boomerangs, Hyperlapses - you name it. So, while the in-person experience was a unique one we're glad to have had, it might have been just as good experienced exclusively through others, via social media.