“The Rooms turned formerly staid institutions into playful, imaginative spaces”
— Cool Hunting

From a playground filled with dancing Elvis' and fabulous beasts, to an interactive light garden, haunted study and enchanted library, The Rooms was a Playground for New Ideas staged in a series of unusual venues in Bristol City Centre. 

For three days in November, The Rooms was a Playground for new ideas. Alongside a series of installations showing 53 projects, there was an exciting programme of free talks, workshops, film screenings and house parties. 

The Rooms was produced by REACT, who are funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. REACT invested in collaboration, cultural experimentation and creative innovation between University researchers and creative businesses, supporting them to make new kinds of digital products and experience.

"An artificially starlit pathway wound towards the entrance of an abandoned courthouse in central Bristol, through an avenue lined with fake pink-blossom trees. At the end of the path stood a flashing, bleeping swing that called passersby towards it with blinking lights and a musical tune. To the right of the swing there was a set of stairs that led to the courthouse's basement.

[The Rooms] was designed as a "Playground for New Ideas." It featured an interactive swing, a pitch black bio-activated maze, and an enchanted library, all wrapped together with lots of fairy lights. 

The installations weren't gimmicky either. There were serious meditations on the future of books, how to move documentary storytelling beyond the screen, and how to grapple with digital archiving and death."

 - The Rooms in Wired