If there’s one thing you must know about me, it’s that I LOVE color! Being surrounded by fun, bright colors always makes me so happy.
So, when I heard that the Color Factory was popping up in San Francisco, I immediately jumped on tickets. Created by the masterminds behind the popular blog Oh Happy Day (which I had been following for YEARS), the Color Factory is 12,000 square ft and 15 rooms full of interactive exhibits that celebrate color and material.
In other words – the Color Factory is full of fun and plenty of photo ops perfect for that Instagram feed of yours!
I checked out the Color Factory with my friend Natalie of Pastels and Passports (who helped me take the photos of me in this post). I had been giddy and excited about it since the day I bought tickets. The verdict? It totally lived up to the hype, and I had sooooo much fun!
Come along with me on my tour of this fun-filled, rainbow-inspired wonderland!
The Rainbow Staircase and Lobby
Confession: The suggested time for one to spend in the Color Factory is one hour, but it took us over 30 minutes to even get past the lobby and get our tickets scanned. Once you enter the doors of this building painted in rainbow colored steps, you will find a rainbow staircase, with each step painted in each color of the rainbow, and then basically leading onto a rainbow!
Once you get down the steps, you will find these fun dots on the floor. It kind of reminded me of a rainbow hopscotch, but almost more fun! Once you walk down this dotted walkway, you will get your tickets scanned.
Behind the ticket booth is this rainbow plaid mural by Erin Jang. Proceed to take a million photos here, because helloooo how fun is this backdrop!
Registration + Scratch and Sniff Room
After your tickets are scanned, the staff will instruct you to walk into the registration room and sign a waiver on one of the iPads. They will also hand you a nifty photo card. The Color Factory has several “photo booth” spots within in the exhibits, where you can scan your card and smile for the camera! This was handy because sometimes we wanted photos of both of us, and in some spots (like in the balloon room – more on that next) the lighting wasn’t ideal.
The registration room is painted in vertical rainbow stripes, and also serves as the scratch and sniff room. Here, there are a bunch of scratch and sniff scents that are attached to each of the stripes, and are of anything from “your grandmother’s perfume,” to “your first trimester pregnancy craving,” to “when life gives you lemons.” It explores how different smells are tied to color and memories.
One thing that I loved about the Color Factory was that they gave you little treats from local food vendors – in this room, it was macarons from Chantal Guillon. These were served conveyor style on top of colorful coasters, and under a neon “Now Serving” sign. So much fun – and the macarons were tasty!
Black and White Laboratory
You will then walk through some doors that lead into the next room, which is the Black and White laboratory. Here, you will checkered black and white floors, and striped walls, both vertical and diagonal.
It has a laboratory theme, and you will find a contraption that dispenses charcoal lemonade from Pressed Juicery – a black liquid that looks questionable at first glance. I got over my hesitation and chugged my shot – it is actually a really tasty, refreshing drink!
Artist Tosha Stimage‘s exhibit examines the color orange as an analogy for black identity, the meaning of objects, and the relation to one other.
This super bright, orange painted room houses a ton of orange-colored objects, from a traffic cone, to a Ziploc bag full of Goldfish crackers, to a basketball. All these objects fall into the visual wavelength spectrum 590-620 NM.
Blue Balloon Room
Created by Geromino Ballons, who is famous for its large-scale balloon installations on building exteriors, this room houses an overwhelming number of blue balloons, all in varying shades and sizes. It almost has an underwater vibe – so very cool!
Disco Mirror Room
Exit the balloon room and get ready for a dance party! This disco dance floor features a sparkly glitter floor, and a mirrored disco ball ceiling that reflects light onto the floor creating a fun iridescent rainbow. Lots of sparkly fun in this room (and now I will have Justin Timberlake’s “Mirrors” stuck in my forever)!
Lite Brite Room
Who else loved playing with Lite Brites as a kid? I sure did, so I was super stoked about this giant version of it!
Illustrators Andy J. Miller and Andrew Neyer collaborated on this large-scale black and white mural, leaving the spaces black so that attendees can color in the blanks with giant, 5-foot tall green markers.
I call myself 5 feet tall…but I think these markers might be taller than me?! WHAT?! Anyways, it was fun to color for a bit with these giant markers for a bit, and I even got a great arm workout from it, which is always a plus!
The Ribbon Room
I’ve always had a thing for ribbon since my crafty/scrapbooking days, so I was super stoked when I heard about this room. Playing hide and seek while getting lost within some colorful ribbons?! YASSS! This installation, by Swedish artist Jacob Dahlgren, consists of a cube of 10,000 hanging ribbon strands, and celebrates everyday objects and materials. One of my favorite installations in the Color Factory!
Smiley Face Stairs and Rainbow Hallway
The ribbon room is the end of the downstairs part of the Color Factory. You will then head out the doors, go up a stairwell with a glowing hot pink smiley face smiling down at you. Go through the doors, and walk down the rainbow hallway, which brings you to…
The Stained Glass Chapel
I love playing with cool lighting, and when I saw photos of the neon colors streaming through these windows, I was so very excited to see it in person and take photos here!
The stained glass chapel consists of these colored stained glass windows, as well as some neon-colored plastic benches so that you can sit and soak in all those colors. Best seen on a sunny day, and the sun was definitely streaming through those windows that day. Such a pretty sight.
Purple Selfie Room
This room explores the instant gratification of today’s digital world. London-based artist Tom Stayte set up a computer with a thermal printer that prints out every Instagram photo hash-tagged #selfie ever 12 seconds, piling up all over the floor. Natalie and I got involved in the selfie-taking as well, and I got so involved in trying to capture a Boomerang of our selfie printing out (which I missed – TWICE – epic fail!), that I forgot to take a photo of the actual room. I’m just going to say that I was too busy having fun 😉
The Confetti Room
Quite possibly my favorite room in the entire exhibit! Here, pounds of confetti are slowly sprinkled from the ceiling, accumulating on the floor. We spent quite a bit of time in here, and had soooo much fun (obvi) – because how can you NOT have fun when you are throwing bits of colorful confetti up in the air and then twirling in it?
(And yes, you WILL be picking out confetti out of your hair and stuff for a while. But I mean, #worthit).
The Yellow Room
If you’ve followed me on Instagram for awhile, you might know that yellow is my favorite color. So, maybe I lied – maybe this was my favorite room?
The yellow room features a giant ball pit, and come on – when was the last time you got to play around in a ball pit? I kept sinking in and getting stuck (and moving through it is a lot harder than I remember it being when I was a kid), but this was soooo much fun! (and resulted in some fun Boomerang videos)
This is the end of the Color Factory. (Insert sad face here). On the way out, there is a yellow store, which has a collection of perfectly curated yellow merchandise for sale, along with a super fun striped wall.
You will also receive some parting gifts – an mini cone from Garden Creamery, a postcard, and a map of some Color Factory bonus locations that are all over San Francisco. This map tells you where to find anything from bonus murals, where to get a Color Factory manicure, where to find extra treats, and more.
We checked out some of the stops in Chinatown, like this mural by Erin Jang, and I can’t wait to check out the rest of the stops on the map to continue the fun!.
Tickets for the rest of August and September are sold out, but you can sign up for the mailing list here to hear of future dates/locations. Methinks that with the insane popularity of the event, this won’t be the end of the Color Factory. (And this story says that they have an interest in taking the pop-up to New York as well).
What’s your favorite room in the Color Factory?
Caroline is a Southern California based traveler, writer, and photographer. She travels all around California, the US, and the world in search of the most colorful places, the most delicious food, and bucket-list adventures. Her aim is to inspire other travelers discover how to add more adventure and joy to their lives. On Pictures & Words, you’ll find detailed guides + itineraries, along with vibrant photos to help you plan the the most epic trips. When she’s not traveling, Caroline also runs half marathons.