Some call it basic, some call it artsy, but no matter how you cut it, 29Rooms has taken the world by storm as a millennial playground like no other. Similar immersive experiences have cropped over the years like The Rosé Mansion and The Color Factory, but none have measured up to Refinery29’s cult following of 29Rooms. Last year we checked it out for the first time and were thoroughly impressed by the display of culture, cause, and creativity. Every corner held a different surprise for the senses! As a 29Rooms veteran now, I have a bit of a critique for this year’s exhibit…
1. Free coat check! Thank God, because it’s way too frigid to go without a jacket!
2. At each room, there were attendants ready to take pictures of you and your crew (because let’s be honest, we’re all there primarily for the cool pics 😉).
3. The event space had huge windows with great views of the city.
4. Free organic tampons and pads in the bathroom 🤙.
5. This year’s location was prime. 25 Kent Ave is right in the heart of Williamsburg and super close to Smorgasburg, Brooklyn Flea, and plenty of other great gems like Café Colette. Needless to say, Refinery29 really kept their hipstery audience in mind when picking location!
1. Last year, 29Rooms came to NYC in September, so waiting outside to get in wasn’t all that bad. December, however, is no time to be waiting outside for an egregious amount of time 🥶!
2. It was great that there were attendants prepared to take pictures at a lot of the rooms. It would have been better if the pictures were actually salvageable 😬.
3. Waiting time to get into the exhibit really cut into our time in the rooms. Not to mention there were no defined lines, just clumps of people waiting around haphazardly. When you only have 2.5 hours to get to everything, it makes a difference! When they called 30 minutes left, my friend and I hadn’t even seen half of the rooms, so our plan was to hide in the bathroom until the next session 🙈! The saving grace was that we weren’t kicked out right away and didn’t have to hide in the bathroom. The downside was that most of the interactive rooms were roped off by then, so we couldn’t enjoy them in full!
4. No free giveaways (besides the tampons). Last year I remember there being more to taste and take!
5. At least four rooms were repeats from last year, and overall, the rooms were less compelling and less informative this year. The experiences seemed to be scattered throughout the event space in a way that served as an antithesis to the slogan of 29Rooms, which is “expand your reality”. The reality was narrow and abrasively in front us: we all bought into a marketing ploy that exploited our insatiable desire for likeable Instagram content 🤯 .
So what’s the consensus? I was a little unimpressed this year. In my opinion, the rooms were less immersive, the space could’ve been used much better, and the entire event needs a series efficiency revamp!
Will I go again next year? Probably.
What are your thoughts on this cultural phenomenon? Let us know by commenting below!