Review: Refinery29's 29Rooms Is More Than Just an "Instagram Heaven"

In case you haven't heard: Refinery29 is bringing its famous 29Rooms photogenic pop-up exhibit to Los Angeles. The Downtown Los Angeles art exhibit is only open in Los Angeles from Dec. 7 until Dec. 17 and is already sold out.

At the press event on Wednesday, I realized the dome-shaped white arena was nothing like I expected. Each of the "29 rooms" were created bring together artists from various mediums to create an interactive art experience. After touring entire whole exhibit, I was in awe.

Each room has something completely different to offer, giving the audience something new to think about and take away. Whether it was body positivity, mental health, or racial and gender equality, the art presented was a breath of fresh air in the midst of an administration and political climate that seems to oppose such issues.

The rooms are all collaborations and each has a unique presence and message behind the art. Going through all 29 rooms can be overwhelming at first since everything is so eye-catching and exciting. I wanted to quickly take all my pictures and go through the rooms, but I knew it was important to also stop and think about each room and it's message.

One of the first rooms to catch my eye was room #4, "Erotica In Bloom." The room created by Maisie Cousins was full of hanging flowers, creating a soothing environment. I felt so peaceful with all the beautiful flowers and relaxing music. 

Adjacent to Room #4 is Room #1, "Become the Masterpiece" by Alexa Meade. The colors and patterns of this room are eye-catching, but what is so incredible about this room is how interactive Alexa is with the attendees. You have the chance to wear her art and take pictures with her boxed background.

Artist #AlexaMeade shares her art. #29rooms

— Her Campus UCLA ☃️❄️ (@HerCampusUCLA) December 6, 2017

We were lucky enough to meet Alexa, who with no hesitation created a vision for our photo shoot. When my friend and I walked up to her, she looked at us and suggested we pose as if we are releasing a joint studio album. 

There is also an opportunity to take mirror selfies in this room. Next to her boxed background, Alexa created a vanity mirror where one can take a look at themselves before their shoot (even though we inevitably just took some more pics). We definitely took advantage of this chance to strike some more pictures.

Glitter is everywhere throughout the exhibit, but nothing tops Room #6, "Portraits of Expression" in collaboration with make-up brand Urban Decay. The mellow purple lighting in combination with all the purple specks of glitter scattered all across the walls and floor makes you want to jump up and down. This room allows you to step into the frame and express your true self.

Collaboration with Urban Decay. #29Rooms

— Her Campus UCLA (@HerCampusUCLA) December 6, 2017


After taking so many pictures in this room, attendees also get the chance to take some samples of Urban Decay’s Troublemaker mascara! Samples were placed in the center of the room inside a purple, glittery bowl (of course). Extra? I think yes!

Room #8, "One Woman, Many Crowns," was created in collaboration with Netflix to promote their original series. The room with filled with many gorgeous, intricate crowns hanging from the ceiling with confetti all over the room. As you get closer to the crowns, you hear accounts of Queen Elizabeth on her struggles with being a woman in power. While I had never heard of this show before, I feel as though this room really sparked my curiosity on the series and I plan on binge watching it this break.

Flowers anyone? The ultimate room to get your flower power on is Room #25, "World of Daisy" in collaboration with Marc Jacobs. You can literally smell this room from the opposite side of the exhibit. The artificial flowers and flower crowns are perfumed with Jacobs' signature scent, Daisy. Take a picture next to the floral wall or lay down in a floor full of flowers. There's no wrong choice, so if you can’t decide, do both!

Room #22, "The Future is Female," in collaboration with Madame Gandhi and Jen Mussari, was one of my favorite rooms. The room is set up for boxing class, encouraging and empowering women to take any worries or challenges and channel them into something else.

Whether it be finals or a personal issue, this room granted us the chance to punch the stress away and channel it in a healthy way. The encouraging female empowerment messages painted on the bags and gloves only motivated us more.

Another favorite was Room #22, which was created by Demi Lovato. "The Power Parlor" room is what you would expect a modern tattoo shop to look like. A clean space, full of tattoo stations and samples of possible tattoo art people can get done.

What makes this room special is the message Demi wants the audience to take: Everyone has scars, but those scars are markers of how far we have come in life. It is hard not to reflect on your own life while being in this room.

The second to last room I visited was Room #11, "Seen & Unseen" in collaboration with artist Juca. Juca’s message of unity is visually represented by the human figures they colorfully painted on the wall. This room is fun for photo shoots, with so many different positions to pose in. Take pictures solo or in the company of others. Regardless, it makes for a fun time and a cool picture for the ‘gram.

I posed with the art, and I was genuinely shocked that the figure was taller than me.

One of the last rooms I visited was Room #12, “Hear Our Voice” in collaboration with the Women’s March leaders. The aesthetic of this room is breathtaking, with its pink walls, clear lettering, and countless posters with art that reinforces equality for all. However, what stands out the most about this room was the fact that attendees were able to sit down and write to their congress members about anything regarding the state of the nation.

When finished, the room has a designated box to put them in so they could be sent out. For me, this served as a meaningful reminder of civic duty and engagement.

This is one of the many postcards attendees can use to write to their Congressmen and women.

There is also something to say about how interactive these pieces are. From swings and slides, to trying on coats and jackets, to listening to audio pieces about people’s encounters with transphobia and sexism, these art pieces are meant to dig deep, encouraging attendees to dive in head first and become immersed in the realities of others.

Behind all the glitter, flowers and Instagram-worthy pictures, I left Refinery29's 29Rooms reminded of the importance of always being open to learning and empathizing. Without this, we become stuck in our ways and ignorant to the lives of others. This exhibit reminded me of such a value. 29Rooms opens Dec. 7 for the public. To the lucky few that got tickets to this event, you are in for a great experience.

Images courtesy of Carolina Duarte and Getty Images for Refinery29's 29Rooms.