Life in Technicolor: Visiting San Francisco’s Color Factory

Paris may have the Louvre and New York may have the MoMA, but San Francisco has something even better – The Color Factory. 😉 

The Color Factory is a pop-up exhibit that’s going on for two months in downtown San Francisco. It includes over 10,000 colored ribbons, a giant yellow ball pit, and about a dozen rooms full of color – plus, there are even a few sweet treats! 

Sounds awesome, right? The demand for tickets was so high, that they sold out in the first week – and everything for August and September are totally booked. I was lucky enough to get a few tickets for my friends and I – including you guys! 

Are you ready to (virtually) see what’s on the other side of the rainbow? Let’s go!

The Color Factory is located on 545 Grant Street, a few blocks away from Union Square. Just look for the colorful stripes – you can’t miss it (or the guy wearing the onesie in the office above) ;)

The museum’s creative director is Leah Rosenberg, who’s a local, San-Francisco based artist. She collaborated with a dozen other artists – and three local food companies – to create the Color Factory.

 

When you check in and enter the Color Factory, the employees give you a neat little plastic card. You put your info and email address, scan these cards at “Photo Stops,” and have your photo taken by their automatic cameras! It’s a neat idea for someone who’s sick and tired of taking selfies because her friends are busy rushing through the museum (just kidding, I have no friends ).

After the first photo station, there’s a wall full of different smells – sort of like a giant Scratch N’ Sniff book. You’ll smell the yummy Pumpkin Pie to the not-so-yummy Stinky Socks – and everything in between.

 

What’s this? Let’s take a closer look!

 

At the end of the first room is a complimentary macaroon from Chantal Guillon. I took the chocolate and sea salt one (you can see it in the bottom right corner in the photo) and it was delicious! 

 

In the next room is another little gift. This time its charcoal lemonade (!!) from Pressed Juicery. Even though it looks strange, this black drink tasted like normal lemonade.

 

Onto the first room! The entire room was filled from floor to ceiling with orange stuff and is created by Tosha Stimage.

You might be wondering, why did she choose orange, of all colors?

Tosha explains – “The oranges are partially an homage to […] her thesis for her Masters at CCA, which focused on the relationship between an illustration of Mickey Mouse and a photo of OJ Simpson. It traced the histories of and associations with both images to explore characterization in popular culture, notions of criminality in relationship to blackness, and oranges as a symbol and commodity, among other topics.”

What’s your favorite thing in this room? For me, it’s either the Halloween bucket, the Hawaiian cap, or the Korean face mask pack.

 


(Blue) Cheeeese 

Now onto the next room. The second color theme is blue and was curated by Geronimo Balloons – if you haven’t already, check out their Instagram and all of the crazy balloon installations!

 

The room next to the Blue Balloon Room (my unofficial name for it) is the Disco Room. There were more than 20 disco balls hung from the ceiling and 90’s prom music playing in the background. Some of our tour groupmates even decided to dance and have their own mini-prom. 

(By the way, did you notice the girl in yellow? All of the Color Factory employees wear yellow jumpsuits so you can easily spot them – plus they look like cute lil Minions!)

The last adjacent room was totally dark, except for this giant Lite Brite. You can take the giant colored pegs and poke them into the wall to make different shapes or words. We didn’t spend too much time here and only made a very basic smiley face before giving up and moving onto the next room (we were excited to get to the yellow ball pit!)

 

The Green Room was designed by Andrew Neyer, an artist from Ohio. Although he mainly designs products, Andrew drew (hehe) the art seen on these walls as part of his exhibit.

If you look closely, you can see most of the items he drew are traditionally green, like avocados and cacti.

In the room are two giant green markers in light green and forest green. You can draw and color in whatever you want, except that you can’t write any words – not that we tried to write anything bad *ahem*.

 

The final room downstairs contains this huge ribbon installation by Jacob Dahlgren. You can go inside the ribbons — in fact, you’re encouraged to — and play around (or jump out and scare your friends, like some of us here). 

Fun fact: Jacob has worn striped shirts every day for the last 8 years – can you believe it?! What’s even crazier is that he doesn’t need to wash them, because he has a collection of over 900 striped shirts. I thought I was obsessed with my sailor shirt back in middle school, but this guy takes it to a whole new level. 

 

After finishing downstairs, we walked over to the entrance and were immediately bummed out – was this the end of the Color Factory? Where were our precious yellow balls??

… Nope, not the end! We were ushered upstairs to the second floor. On the staircase up, this neon guy expressed how we felt. :)

 

On the way up you’ll see these stained glass windows, and on the other side are LED lights in different colors …

 

… Perfect for taking flattering photos 

 

Before the Color Factory officially opened its doors, the team invited a few San Francisco influencers for a pre-party. One of the photos was of a blogger in this room, but I had no idea how cool it actually was until we got inside! 

The room is sponsored by Method and contains thousands of little confetti papers. There’s even a wheel attached to the ceiling that makes it “snow” confetti too. 

Or, you can DIY and make your own confetti and pretend you’re in a Post Malone video

*Broom generously provided by one of the employees – it makes for a cute GIF, doesn’t it?*

Onto the next room! No, this isn’t ad advertisement for Apple. It’s actually made by Tom Stayte – creator of the Selfie Printer. 

 

Hanging out with my homies 

How does it work? Every time someone posts an image to Instagram with the hashtag #selfie, Tom’s printer automatically prints it out. If you ever wanted to travel to San Francisco but didn’t have the chance, try it out – at least your selfie can be there!

 

 Do I look like a Dolce & Gabbana advertisement?

The last room is the one I’ve been waiting for – the giant yellow ball pit!!

There are over 200,000 balls in a space that’s big enough to be the size of an Olympic swimming pool, but swimming in here is harder than it looks. 

 

If you get tired of swimming around and taking photos, stop by the last kiosk and enjoy your complimentary ice cream – it comes in Vanilla, Banana, or a mix of both. 

 

We chose banana to fit in with the theme, and it was delicious! You can see how huge the ball pit really is in this photo. 

 

And of course, what’s a museum without a gift shop? Randi Brookman Harris, a product stylist, curated the all-yellow gift shop. I’m not sure if you can actually buy any of the items, but it was fun to poke around and look at the things on display. 

The Color Factory’s director stated that “…Our goal was that each installation would meet three criteria,” says Ferney. “It would be conceptual, [be] beautiful and photogenic, and be an experience you couldn’t get anywhere else.” 

To be honest, I think it passed with flying colors (are you guys getting tired of my puns yet?) – it was interesting, gorgeous, and Instagram-worthy. In fact, it’s one of the most unique “museums” that I’ve been to.

 

That’s it for this blog post! What did you think? Would you want to come to the Color Factory? As always, thanks for reading and see you next time! 

 

 

Where to buy it:
Dress: Vince Camuto
Sandals: Carlos Santana Tenor Sandals in “Kork”

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10 thoughts on “Life in Technicolor: Visiting San Francisco’s Color Factory

    1. Thank you! I’m so glad San Francisco is finally getting pop-up museums too ;) Have a fun trip to SF!!

  1. This looks like such a great place to visit. I’ve been to San Francisco a couple of times and didn’t know about it.. On my list for my next visit.

  2. We’re in SF for the next month and I’m really curious about this place but it’s so expensive to get in! I think your tour is the next best thing to actually going :P

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