Keeping with the rarified atmosphere of the East Village, the Olfactory Factory is being run by two people with incredible social media followings and an equal mix of dreams and entrepreneurial caution.
On Wednesday night, Olfactory Factory founder Anna Rose said the duo (she is a professionally trained dancer, Mr. Whitman is a flamenco guitarist) were doing something they’d never done before — turning over all financial control of the project to “real” actors.
What has changed? It began with a costuming competition.
“We’re doing the theater equivalent of Trump and the Democratic party,” Mr. Whitman said.
Each team was tasked with selecting a costume to represent a character on a piece of paper (a “mobile challenge”) and they went to work. Nearly all of them had worked together in the past — some with Mr. Whitman and Ms. Rose; others with their partners, like Kate McAllister.
“You have an actor directing a play written by an actor,” Mr. Whitman said. “It sounds like the bizarro world.”
The plan, Mr. Whitman said, was to draw all of the creative work from across the artists community into one space.
“We want this place to be a full experience for all the creatives that come here,” Mr. Whitman said.
Olfactory Factory might just be the kind of place where that happens. Over the past two years, it has become a place where fashion-forward individuals (famous faces, too!) attend parties. It has become a place for art shows and film screenings, and it is currently gearing up for a pop-up project with Spotify called “Olfactory Hits,” which aims to “bring underground, street-style brands to light,” and has already attracted actor Orlando Bloom to the space. The former Holly Golightly from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and lead vocalist of the band Radiohead — Mr. Bloom has been on the building’s guest list for years — just filmed an Olfactory Factory video.
As social media postings and dressing up for the big night (any photo of the rock star suggests looks like Angelina Jolie with Angelina Jolie hair) have become the norm at the loft, events will be more thrown together by a team of M.A.T.Es: stylists, event planners, event space coordinators and ad hoc translators. A sort of millennial version of a music production house, Olfactory Factory is its own creative “machine.”
“We kind of tell the truth,” Ms. Rose said, sipping on champagne. “We like the magic.”