Reviewed by Darryl Ryznar
With the younger generation turning to social media more often than not, it’s no surprise that there has been a recent uptake and increase in pop up ‘Instagram museums’. These are spaces designed for social, whether that be photos, videos or live feeds. As one of the new kids on the block, Dopamine Land in South Kensington, aims to offer something different.
The thought behind the name? As you may – or may not be – aware, Dopamine is a chemical that’s released in the brain that makes you feel good. Dopamine Land’s various rooms aim to trigger this release as you journey from room to room in a number of ways, including nostalgia, meditation and general fun, therefore making for a very enjoyable experience. Describing itself as “an immersive multisensory experience”, it’s important to note that each of the rooms has a symbol on a poster placed outside, which reveals how to best engage with the space including a camera (photo), video camera (video) and people/speech bubbles (engage), but you obviously aren’t limited to these mediums. You’re also encouraged to engage in your way where you see fit!
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t 100% sure what to expect but as I entered the waiting area as I arrived, I was greeted by brightly lit neon archways, each armed with a sensor to play a different note as I walked through, I was immediately calmed by the space, and eager to see what this experience was all about.
The first room we entered was the Popcorn. This room was designed to create a childhood-cinematic experience nostalgia, complete with a complimentary bag of sweet and salty popcorn in the centre. The four walls were decked in videos projecting shape-shifting red and white lines, almost hypnotically.
The next room, Infinite Karma, was reminiscent of Yayoi Kusama Infinity Mirror rooms – a small space with all 4 walls covered in mirrors, using lights to create the effect of an infinite space. Absolutely stunning and great fun for photos!
The third room, Smile, was a little odd – it was designed for you to take your own photo within the 3D landscape, so I feel it was a little underwhelming. However, to make up for the lack of action in room 3, The Ground is Your Enemy (the next stop on the tour) had real Squid Games vibes – you had to jump from one lit up square to the next without ‘touching’ the ground (don’t worry if you aren’t feeling quite as spritely as this would appear – you can just walk straight through too!). The next few rooms weren’t quite as exhilarating, but the Writing Room, Crafting Calm and Fire Lantern were funky in their own ways.
The last two rooms of the museum were rather different. Keep Calm, a digital forest complete with bark floor and wooden stump seating was very relaxing, while the Pillow Fight exhibit was full of fluff and fun.
The final stop on the Dopamine Land experience was the Bubble Palace. This was a huge bright space, complete with bubble tea bar, ping pong tables, photo ops and gumball machines galore. A bubbly end to a fun experience!
Overall, I really appreciated the fun and interactive displays Dopamine Land had to offer. Each room provided it’s own unique charm to the full dopamine-inducing experience.
Close to South Kensington tube station, and plenty major bus routes, Dopamine Land is situated on Old Brompton Road, easily accessible from all areas of London.
It’s currently open:
Wednesday and Thursdays: 3 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Fridays: 3 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Saturdays: 11 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Sundays: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Rating: 3.5 stars. A fun, photo op experience in central London.
Tickets are £20, and can be booked online via their website.