Feb 20 2018

The Color Factory

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We always fancied ourselves as a color factory.

When we heard about an actual  COLOR FACTORY  exhibit in San Francisco, we were intrigued. After all, color is what we do! It’s our business.

The concept is from Jordan Ferney of the wildly popular blog Oh Happy Day.

If I were you, I’d follow the whole wildly creative bunch on social media.

Oh Happy Day Instagram


Jordan Ferney PINTEREST

If you’ve NOT heard about it, Architectural Digest wrote about it here.  And, Business Insider tours it here.

Within hours of tickets becoming available, they sold out for the entire month. From its inception, The Color Factory was limited to a one month run in August ’17. Once the organizers realized the demand was so great, they extended its stay. (Thanks, Jordan!)

We got a second shot at tickets and delightedly explored this fascinating concept. To be immersed in 12,000 square feet of interactive color….it’s a Design Master dream! Come along on our recap. CAUTION: Inspiration could occur.

My art buddies, Jane and Dale, were eager adventurers so early one morning we headed into the city.  Fun was anticipated, but while standing in line awaiting our time slot kid-like excitement percolated!

Released, we descended rainbow stairs onto a polka dot path leading us to a ‘Willie Wonka-esque’ world of color… complete with jumpsuit clad workers!

A room encased in rainbow stripes followed.  Giddily we registered with The Color Factory and received our polka-dotted ID cards. These cards activate cameras scattered throughout to take colorful selfies… delivering them directly to your inbox.  VERY cool guys.

One side of the room invited your nose to participate in the color sensory…

Can you smell the colors?

Carbs or no carbs, we HAD to imbibe in the total experience. That meant snacking on a yummy confetti cookie served on the most colorful pinwheel turntable you’ll encounter!  Even though we were feeling like kids, we were additionally fortunate to follow these two cuties through the exhibit.  Watching their reactions made the color experience twice the fun!

In the the next-door room of black and white we experienced the contrast of color expectations.  Would you expect a charcoal colored refreshment to taste like lemonade?  Me neither… but it was refreshing!

Tosha Stimage, a bay area artist, chose to use the color orange as an analogy for black identity in her works. Definitely illustrates the infinite possibilities of color mixing two hues. Design concepts mirroring cultural concepts.  A beautiful statement.  At what point do you describe the color as yellow or orange?

While much is touted about the Color Factory being an Instagram dream, I tried to take note on how I was feeling when immersed in the different colored rooms.  The Balloon Bath by Geronimo Balloons was texturally intriguing and spacial wise one might get a little claustrophobic.  Cool heads prevailed though as blue calmed any encroaching fears!  Psychology of color at work!  Curiously too, everyone was on good behavior… not a single balloon got popped!

What is color without light?  The disco ball room is sure to tickle your feet as light descends on the holographic flooring.  Dale caught the fever… even if it wasn’t Saturday night!

The giant Lite Bright room charmed all!  Magnified colored acrylic pegs slipped into the slotted background to emit colorful hues. Your task was to create a colorful design to leave behind for the next visitor.  Jane left her mark.

The green room begs, ‘Color Me’!  Two collaborative illustrators, Andrew Neyer and  Andy J. Miller, inspired by all things green transformed this room into a life-size coloring book. Talk about maintenance… Each week the room gets washed in white then volunteers retrace the black lines peeking through to create a fresh canvas.

en garde, Green! Dale shows how it’s done! …as Jane claims ‘Staying within the lines isn’t so easy with 6 foot markers!!

I field suggestions from the art critics.

One of the favored installations is by Swedish artist Jacob Dahlgren. This humongous ribbon cube has 10,000+ multi-colored hanging ribbons.

You can easily get lost in the densely packed ribbons. Feel the sensation of walking through it with me…


Even the comfort centers are immersed in color… and bathroom humor!  Frame after frame of sophomoric riddles wallpaper the walls. Can’t help but giggle!  You may want to read all the jokes but the personality of this red-orange hue coaxes you out the door.

Traveling upstairs we encountered more….

Everyone is pretty in pink while in this stairwell.  Curiously, the longer you hang out here, the quicker your heart starts to beat!  Hue knew? …the physiology of color in action!

A cool reminder how multiples of everyday items can make a dynamic color display.

Confetti. Fun-fetti. What is it about these little pieces of colorful paper that delight the soul?


A perfect spot for colorful contemplation.

The finale is a preponderance of yellow. Spanning the entire room is a sunny yellow ball pit, shaped like a pool and filled with approximately 207,000 balls!  Sure to make you chuckle, the surrounding walls feature illustrations and palette-inspired jokes by Charissa Potter.  It’s a high energy room that makes you feel crazy happy!


After working up a sweat swimming in the ball pit super cute, soft-serve ice cream cones are served.  They’re yellow of course!

As you leave the factory be sure to look over your shoulder to catch one more glimpse of brilliantly happy color.

The last batch of tickets for the Color Factory are now available for March and April viewing… get your tickets here!  Rumor is that they’ll do the popup exhibit in New York.  Keep your fingers crossed east coasters, you’d love it!

2021 UPDATE:  The Color Factory has current exhibits in New York and Houston, with one coming to Chicago in 2022. Check them out HERE. Fresh exhibits in each location are bound to delight all!