7 of the Coolest Rooms You Can Stand Inside

Chances are, you're in some sort of room right now—maybe your office or your living room. Look around. Is it boring? It’s pretty boring, isn’t it? But it doesn’t have to be like this. Just take some inspiration from, or at least go visit, some of the coolest rooms in the world.

1. ROOMS OF ILLUSIONS

Peter Kogler is an Austrian artist who uses art, music, and video on a large scale to blow your mind. This usually involves being in a room surrounded by some of the most headache-inducing wallpaper designs you have ever seen. According to Snježana Pintarić, the curator of Kogler's recent exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Croatia, the artist covered the walls, ceiling, and floor with a twisting tube design “in order to transform an ordinary ‘box-shaped’ space into one that in the observer generates the impression of being lost in time and space, as if we were lost in a virtual maze." Kogler wrapped an exhibition in Brussels last summer, but his next full-room artwork shouldn't be far off.

2. THE OBLITERATION ROOM

What do you get when you take a completely white room and let visitors cover every surface with thousands of colorful stickers? Artist Yayoi Kusama’s Obliteration Room. It’s called that because the walls and the white furniture are slowly covered with color, “obliterating” the original stark environment. Unfortunately, the Japanese artist and writer last displayed the room in 2011, so you can’t indulge your inner child right now—but with any luck, sometime in the future you might get to let your inner child run wild while collaborating with thousands of other people on a crazy modern art project.

3. INFINITY MIRRORED ROOM

If you like Kusama’s sticker idea but don’t think it's trippy enough, don’t worry—she has another installation you're going to love. Called Infinity Mirrored Room—The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away, this one is meant to evoke “the dual sentiments of time standing still and going on forever," according to Wallpaper. But it better evoke that feeling in you quickly, since when it showed at a museum in New York City the lines were so long people were only allowed in for 40 seconds.

At 87 years old, Kusama is still producing art and her installations are still traveling the globe. She recently wrapped a show in London, and she also has a permanent exhibition at the Matsumoto City Museum of Art.

4. ANECHOIC CHAMBERS

It isn’t just artists who have created the craziest rooms ever—scientists and engineers have done it, too. When they need to test things with absolutely no outside influence, including sound waves, they use something called an anechoic chamber. “Anechoic” means the rooms are quiet. Deadly quiet. So quiet that if you spent any real amount of time in there you would go completely mad.

For 11 years, the quietest place on earth was located at Orfield Labs in Minneapolis. They even let people sit in the room, in the dark. The longest anyone managed to stay in their chamber was 45 minutes. The walls absorb so much sound that you can actually hear your internal organs working.

But in 2015, the Guinness World Record for quietest room was broken by a room at Microsoft. No word on how long someone managed to hang out in there … yet.

5. VAN GOGH ALIVE

Even the most ardent philistine is familiar with some of Vincent van Gogh’s work. You can’t escape The Starry Night or Sunflowers on everything from magnets to mobile phone cases. So how can museums make viewing his work more exciting when people are already so familiar with it? Apparently, by making it really, really big.

Using what the creators call a “vibrant symphony of light, color and sound, combined and amplified” to make “an unforgettable multi-sensory experience,” the "Van Gogh Alive" exhibition is supposed to let visitors view the works in a completely new way. It’s also accompanied by a classical score that represents how Van Gogh was feeling as he painted different works, since his life was so filled with emotional ups and downs.

Unlike some of the other shows on this list, this one is still going strong. You can find out if it is coming to a museum near you right here.

6. VARIOUS WORKS BY JAMES TURRELL

You’ll never experience his works the same way in different places, since the installations by artist James Turrell are all site-specific. He uses the rooms he is given, and then fills them with brilliant light.

Why does he do this? "My work has no object, no image and no focus," Turrell has said. "With no object, no image and no focus, what are you looking at? You are looking at you looking. What is important to me is to create an experience of wordless thought."

If that doesn’t make any sense to you either, just keep looking at the pretty colors. He exhibits constantly, and his current show is running at the Long Museum in Shanghai, China.

7. SALT CATHEDRAL OF ZIPAQUIRÀ

Despite its fancy-sounding name, the Salt Cathedral isn’t actually a cathedral, although it does attract as many as 3000 people to church on an average Sunday. It is also a huge tourist draw in Colombia.

While a small chapel was built by the salt miners in some of their unused tunnels more than two football fields underneath the ground, a bigger church took its place in the 1950s. Then in 1990, the Colombian Society of Architects opened up a contest for a new, amazing design. The “cathedral” opened in 1995. Technically there are three rooms you can stand in, each representing a different stage of Jesus’s life.

Art
nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
Art
5-Year-Old Boy Hugs, Then Destroys, a $132,000 Sculpture When His Parents Aren't Looking
iStock
iStock

A 5-year-old boy's playful mistake may end up costing his parents a small fortune. As ABC News reports, the boy knocked over and destroyed a valuable piece of art on display in the lobby of the Tomahawk Ridge Community Center in Overland Park, Kansas. Now, the city's insurance company is asking them to pay for it.

The parents were preparing to leave a wedding reception as their son was filmed running around the building's lobby. At one point in the security footage, he can be seen stopping to embrace a sculpture, titled Aphrodite di Kansas City, which causes it to fall towards him and onto the ground.

According to Overland Park's insurance company, the piece was damaged irreparably by the fall. It had been listed at a price of $132,000, and a few days after the incident, the parents received a claim asking them to cover the entire cost.

“You’re responsible for the supervision of a minor child […] your failure to monitor could be considered negligent,” the letter read.

The couple disputed the accusation, instead blaming the community center for not better securing the sculpture. As for the chances of the Aphrodite di Kansas City being repaired or rebuilt, local artist Bill Lyons said it isn't likely. He spent two years creating the original piece, and after declaring it permanently destroyed, he told ABC News he doesn't have the drive or capacity to make a new one.

It isn't just rambunctious 5-year-olds who have been known to ruin expensive art. Grown-up museum visitors, whether they're tripping over untied shoelaces or getting in position for the perfect selfie, can be just as destructive.

[h/t ABC News]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Titan Books
arrow
Comics
8 Things You Might Not Know About The Wizard of Id
Titan Books
Titan Books

Debuting in 1964, Brant Parker and Johnny Hart’s The Wizard of Id took a page from the macabre humor of cartoonist Charles Addams. Ruling the kingdom of Id, a pint-sized tyrant uses humor to disarm a medieval cast made up of a jester, an executioner, a thief, and the titular magician, whose spells don’t usually impress. Although Hart and Parker both passed away in 2007, their black humor lives on. Take a look at some facts behind the throne, including the time Jim Henson almost brought it to television.

1. THE IDEA FOR THE STRIP CAME FROM A DECK OF PLAYING CARDS.

Johnny Hart was already a successful syndicated cartoonist (the Stone Age comedy B.C.) before he and former Disney animator Brant Parker decided to collaborate on a different project. Hart was flipping through a deck of playing cards in 1964 when he came across a peculiar illustration used for the king. Drawing on it to create his own diminutive despot, Hart wrote most of the jokes for Id while Parker illustrated it.

2. THE SYNDICATE THOUGHT THE TWO ARTISTS WERE DISGUSTING.

Although Id would eventually be syndicated to over 1000 strips across the country, Hart and Parker first had to get past the gatekeepers of cartoon distribution operating out of New York. Traveling to the city to show them samples, the two worked late into the night and called to tell executives they were ready. They didn’t know the syndicate would be coming to their hotel room, which was a mess of papers, food, and beer bottles. Caught off-guard, the men looked like transients. “We think you guys are disgusting,” one executive said, “but we love the strip. We’ll take it.”

3. THE SHORT JOKES WERE BASED ON JOHNNY HART.

In a visual juxtaposition, the king of Id’s height is inversely proportional to his power. Parker said the character’s stature was based partly on Hart, who used to fend off jokes about his own height. "The king became short because we used to kid John about being short and a lot of the short gags began to slide over into the strip," Parker said. "He just kept getting smaller, and as he shrunk, the nose got bigger and bigger."

4. A LITTLE GIRL GOT THEM TO DROP A CHARACTER.

Most of the humor in Id is centered around the morbid dynamics of Middle Ages politics, which is not normally an opportunity to offend current sensibilities. But early on, Parker and Hart created a karate teacher from Japan who was perceived by some as a stereotype. When Parker received a letter from a young Japanese-American girl who was being teased at school as a result of the character, the creators decided to drop him from the strip.

5. JIM HENSON WAS GOING TO PUT IT ON TELEVISION.

An avowed fan of comic strips and of The Wizard of Id in particular, Muppets creator Jim Henson met with Hart in 1968 to discuss a possible collaboration. Henson wanted to create an Id television show that would use puppets against an animated backdrop. Hart agreed, and in 1969, Henson was able to shoot test footage featuring himself as the voice of the Wizard. But executives at Publishers-Hall, which had taken over syndication of the strip, were having trouble enticing networks into producing a series. By the time ABC showed interest, Henson had moved on to Sesame Street and other projects. Wizard of Id got translated into animation in 1970 as part of a Chuck Jones variety series titled Curiosity Shop.

6. HART TURNED DOWN FEATURE FILM OFFERS.

Possibly disappointed in the outcome of the Henson project, Hart wasn’t very receptive to offers to adapt Id into other mediums. He reportedly shunned Steven Spielberg and Norman Lear when they called about adaptations. Producer Andrew Gaty managed to interest Hart in 1987, though his plans for a live-action feature—possibly starring Danny DeVito as the king—never came to fruition.

7. IT WAS A (STRANGE) VIDEO GAME.

In 1984, users of the ColecoVision home computer system were able to pick up a software program with an unwieldy title: The Wizard of Id’s Wiz Math. The edutainment program allowed players to brush up on math skills by solving problems faced by Spookingdorf, the tortured and jailed cast member of the strip. By solving math problems, players could navigate Spookingdorf out of his dungeon. The game was produced by Sierra, which later became known for its King’s Quest and Leisure Suit Larry franchises. A typing game, WizType, was also released.

8. BLONDIE AND BEETLE BAILEY CELEBRATED THE STRIP'S 50TH ANNIVERSARY.

When The Wizard of Id passed the half-century milestone in 2014, the entire comics page came out to celebrate. Hi and Lois featured a portrait of the Wizard in a panel, while Blondie and Family Circus made subtle references to the anniversary. (As modern-day strips, it would be difficult to regard a medieval strip with more overt acknowledgment.) In Beetle Bailey, the perennial screw-up shared a cell with the eternally suffering Spookingdorf.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios