R29’s Immersive Brand Playground
Using New York Fashion Week to push an agenda based on marrying culture, content and commerce, US lifestyle e-tailer Refinery 29 created a two-day wonderland of immersive installations in Brooklyn last week (September 11-12).
Dubbed 29 Rooms, the multisensory showcase consisted of 29 overtly Instagram-worthy rooms housed in a 50,000 sq ft waterfront warehouse. The site-specific art installations, virtual reality experiences, live performances and film screenings were the result of partnerships with artists, designers, brands and charity groups.
US chain Nordstrom Rack presented Fierce in Fiction – a door-mounted peep show featuring the surreal worlds of literary heroines Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland. Meanwhile, US accessories brand Fossil's Calling All Curious explored the world of makers through a series of large, curiosity-inspiring keyholes that posed questions such as "Do you colour inside the lines?" alongside an invitation to fill in the drawing behind the door.
A handful of rooms aimed to "give women a voice to express themselves, to feel good in their own skin", tackling topics from body positivity to politics. US women's activewear retailer SIX:02 and German sportswear giant Puma's industrial-looking room encouraged visitors to pledge to accomplish a new goal, recorded in text using stop-frame animation, and then projected into the room. The Vote Your Values room, meanwhile, featured mock voting booths where participants recorded short messages for the future US president about issues that were important to them.
See also Immersive Brand Spaces, Milan 2015: Branded Spaces, and Enhanced Retail Realities and Virtual Immersive Commerce in our Post-Digital Macro Trend. For more on brands tackling social issues, see IRDC: Ethical Retail & Local-Centricity.