By Steve Moran 

At the Senior Living Innovation Forum in Napa, Vince Kadlubek, one of the founders of Meow Wolf, talked about creativity and imagination. Meow Wolf creates interactive, immersive art installations, with locations in Sante Fe, Las Vegas, and Denver.

I asked him what a senior living community would be like if he were to design one. Before I get to his response, here are some highlights from his talk:

Every single thing that has ever come about — ever created — started out by someone imagining something. And everything that will happen in the future to come will be birthed in someone’s imagination.

  • Exploration and discovery can’t really happen without the context of the unknown.
  • If things are known, there is no opportunity for discovery and magic.
  • A good way to see this idea of the need for the unknown is to watch people (or yourself) as they explore Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram. People are not scrolling for the things they have seen before. They are looking for things they have never seen before.
  • What Meow Wolf does with their immersive experiences is to create in the physical world opportunities for discovery and magic.
  • The byproduct of creating these kinds of experiences is excitement, intrigue, happiness, and high energy.

If Meow Wolf Were to Design a Senior Living Community

Back to my question, “What would a senior living community you would design look like?”

He starts off with … “First off, it’s gonna be fun.”

  • It will be filled with immersive art, which will create amazing unique experiences.
  • Most traditional art as we know it is hard for people to engage with. You walk up to it, and you know it is art, but you don’t really know what to do with it. It is not something that we as humans really have much experience with.
  • This means creating spaces that people can walk into — something we’re already familiar with experiencing. We were born inside an immersive space called a hospital. We live our lives in immersive spaces called homes, offices, and senior living communities, so we understand much better how to interpret and interact with spaces.
  • This art would be something that is visually striking and has striking audio.
  • I would hope that it would present a sense of calm but at the same time a sense of possibility and beauty.
  • There would also be lots and lots of VR.

Unpacking This

I continue to obsess with what Margaritaville has created; it is exactly what he is talking about. It is immersive, it is nonboring, and it is fun. It is a place to make friends and to create memories and stories to tell others. It is perfect for Instagram and Facebook posting.

In a few weeks, the Senior Living Foresight team is heading to Las Vegas to scheme, plan, and have some fun. That gathering will include a field trip to Meow Wolf. We can hardly wait to share the experience with you.