Lately, art installations have popped up around Los Angeles, emphasizing the concept of immersion. These hands-on experiences are akin to science museums, but equally as fun for grown-ups as for children. Most recently, I attended The Flutter Experience on South La Brea with the Lori Dennis team. It was quite the family affair. I brought my husband, my daughter and her friend, a client of mine, my intern and media manager. Fun was had by all! The exhibit was sponsored by Flavor Paper, a boutique wallpaper company out of New York, who covered the gallery in their creative and funky prints!
What Does Flutter Make Your Think Of?
That was the first question the gallery owner asked us when we arrived. Butterflies, birds, eyelashes, lightness – The first part of the sensory, immersive experience would be to get in our heads, establish mental expectations, before we dove right in.
The space was built upon the concept that contemporary art could make an impact by being uplifting. Undeniably happy, these exhibits certainly were. There were sound baths and building blocks and piles of naked plush dolls to dive into. There were glow-in-the-dark face-painting stations, and a virtual reality room. The sensory experience was cleansing, energizing, and, yes, fully-immersive. Things to touch, see, hear in every room – (the only thing you couldn’t do was scratch & sniff and lick the Flavor Paper, we asked.)
A visit to The Flutter Experience is an exercise in happiness – a dare to enjoy oneself. The gallery is partnered with Born This Way, Lady Gaga’s organization whose mission is to end the stigma against mental illness. The Flutter Experience stays thematically on-brand in every capacity – every surface covered in something sure to make you smile or blush. If you’re in the LA area, this is one experience you won’t want to miss out on.
Immersive Experiences: Designing for People
Visiting these immersive experiences reminds me why I do what I do. For many looking to work in the design industry, their key in is through shopping, tastemaking, luxury, materialism. That is certainly an aspect to it. For me, though, it was always about chasing a feeling of immersion and ownership. When I was younger, I had very little, my room was minimal – because it had to be – not by choice. And I never considered there was an alternative. Until one day, when a package arrived from my aunt; a set of Popeye the Sailor-printed bed sheets. And what a difference it made.
What about your room, your home, lets people know you are the one who lives there?
The way I felt in my space was instantly transformed. I felt a sense of ownership, there was character and life and personality. And that feeling never went away. The key when it comes to environments is in creating a fully-immersive experience – it’s what sets interior design and architecture (good interior design and architecture) apart from other art forms.
You’re not designing for that Architectural Digest cover money-shot, you’re designing for people who inhabit the space, move around and live in the space. And you’re designing to make it last.
There are so many ways of achieving that feeling – the path to getting there is different for everyone, across ages, genders, socioeconomic levels, but that feeling is the same and it is unmistakable. It is what motivates my work — in design, in sustainability, and in writing my new book The Quadrant Life, about maintaining balance across every area of your life. For some people, that path might look like covering every surface in vibrant loudly-printed wallcoverings, for others it’s as simple as a new pair of bedsheets.
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Okay, Instagram – I need your help! Tell me which book cover is your favorite 1, 2, 3, or 4? The #QuadrantLife is coming out soon. It's all about finding balance in your relationships, finances, wellness, and spiritual life. Excited to share more with you in the months ahead!