This Instagram-Inspired ‘Selfie Factory’ Is One Reason To Visit London
The Selfie Factory pop-up at Westfield, one of Europe’s biggest shopping centres, has seen thousands pass through the 20 odd themed booths and backdrops for quirky images to upload on social media. Teenagers and 20-somethings snap away at a purpose-built London mini-studio for social media selfies. They pose in a bath of pink balls or throw up handfuls of multicoloured confetti.
The space includes a wall of doughnuts, a big fluffy teddy bear, a giant ball pit, a 1950s diner, a confetti corner and coloured ribbons to wander through.
Mothers take pictures of their babies sat with a bright-yellow old-style telephone. Meanwhile, teenagers pose in the roll-top bath or goof around with the doughnuts.
A circuit around the various rooms and backdrops costs £10 (₦4,500, $12.30). Similar initiatives are popular in Asia and North America.
Ball pit, pink elephant
The pop-up space is the brainchild of owner Will Bower. Sitting in the golden swing set, he told AFP, “People come in and spend an hour having fun and taking as many photos as they like.”
The 26-year-old said he and his fiancee tried to find secluded Instagram hotspots on their travels — only to find crowds at each location. That sparked the idea of bringing an abundance of abstract Instagrammable scenes together under one roof.
“Our generation likes to upload things and there’s always a struggle getting content. The Selfie Factory gives you loads of content all in one go,” Bower said. “A lot of people live their lives through Instagram. I’m sure places like this will grow in the future.”
Jane Juby, 41, was making some memories with her daughters Nancy, 18, and 15-year-old Amber. “Nancy’s off to university soon so we’ve just been looking for fun stuff to do together before she goes,” Jane said. “It’s not really my thing. It’s all about followers and posing!”
Young people make up most of the visitors, but 60-somethings have been spotted frolicking in the ball pit, lounging on the bed or pulling cheesy faces with the pink elephant.
Professional social media influencers have been to take snaps including even some regulars, Bower said.
Eliza Bendall, 19, was shooting pictures with a suitcase full of cosmetics, in preparation for product launches. “Hopefully we’ve got some really cool shots,” she said. “So far my favourite is the ’50s diner. It’s very ‘Grease’ vibes. I’m obsessed with that!”