mercer labs arrives in new york


I wore a blindfold for a week straight when I first moved to New York,’ artist Roy Nachum tells designboom inside Mercer Labs, the city’s newest museum set to open this February. He had blindfolded himself when he first enrolled as an art student at the Cooper Union, an homage to his new life. Two decades later, he is opening his museum of art and technology across from Calatrava’s now-iconic oculus — its artwork activating all five senses across fifteen otherworldly rooms. Across 36,000 square feet, the hand of the artist is shown throughout the museum at every scale: from larger-than-life rooms to hidden details like poetry in braille lettering. The whole experience concludes with a design store showcasing a curated selection of books along with Nachum’s own objects, apparel, furniture, and even custom-designed drink and Mochi bar. Mercer Labs is located at 21 Dey Street, and while it set to open in February 2024, visitors can reserve a preview now.

mercer labs new yorkRoy Nachum debuts Mercer Labs: Museum of Art and Technology in New York City | images © Mercer Labs



undulating digital art by roy nachum


Mercer Labs: Museum of Art and Technology occupies the former site of Century 21 in New York City, and is infused with artwork both inside and out. The five colossal windows along the building’s facades are replaced with digital screens to become a work of public art. Inside, the museum becomes a maze. A ‘portal’ threshold leads to The Map, a 5,000 square-foot room with forty foot-high ceilings. Here, laser projectors cast digital imagery across every inch of the space, reinventing the box to become an undulating and disorienting universe. This immersive light painting is accompanied by shifting sounds from all directions. 



laser projectors cast dizzying digital artwork across a colossal room



artwork for all senses


I want people to touch the work,’ Nachum says, explaining that viewers should feel free at Mercer Labs. An installation dubbed I See Sound exaggerates this concept of feeling the artwork rather than viewing it. Here, sleeping masks are offered and the viewer-turned-listener is invited to recline on the carpet (shoe covers are worn for hygiene). This room is ‘one of only three large-scale 4D SOUND systems in the world,’ and features ‘an advanced setup of omnidirectional speakers and vibro-acoustic transducers underneath the floor.’ It’s a unique type of meditation space in lower Manhattan. Rumbling sounds of nature or technology vibrate through the floor and walls. ‘People sometimes fall asleep here,’ the artist says. 

mercer labs new york transports visitors into the dreamworld of artist roy nachuma 4D Sound room invites viewers to become listeners



A dizzying infinity room-style corridor leads to a glimmering installation called New Nature. ‘It’s my favorite room,’ Nachum says. ‘It’s what I see when I close my eyes.’ The seemingly endless space hosts a cloud-like volume of lights. It’s a three-dimensional grid of 507,000 synchronized LED neurons-microchips. These voxels, or volumetric pixels, constantly shift and shimmer to resemble holographic figures and patterning. Mirrors all around amplify the effect to lend a galaxy of infinite, suspended particles of light.

mercer labs new yorkpneumatic tubes transport luminous ‘wishes’



Pneumatic Transmission is an installation which revives a technology that’s perhaps more out-of-date. The pneumatic tubes, used as far back as the nineteenth century to transport mail, are repurposed to transport glowing cylinders of light. ‘They’re wishes!‘ says the artist. A series of interactive screens are located outside the infinity room with its network of tubing. Here, visitors might input a wish, which is translated to become part of the installation. ‘The data lives within the system forever and our wishes are recycled.’

mercer labs new yorkcrowns cover the eyes of figures throughout the museum as symbols of humility and equality



Among the final rooms, The Beach displays a large robotic arm surrounded by a bed of sand. The robot’s mechanized performance combines machine intelligence and human imagination, mimicking both humans and nature as it sketches drawings in the sand and sweeps them away like the tide. Behind its childlike motions, the robotic arm is a demonstration of the ever-evolving relationship between humans and automation.

mercer labs new york transports visitors into the dreamworld of artist roy nachuma robotic arm sketches drawings in the sand before sweeping them away



It’s not just digital art at Mercer Labs. Soft and sculptural ‘boulders’ hand-carved from blocks of foam are scattered throughout many of the rooms as playful seating. Original, large-scale oil paintings by Roy Nachum are displayed in a classic gallery format. Meanwhile, children’s spaces present the artist’s take on the ball pit and a large-scale chess board with pieces both 3D printed and hand-carved from wood. A third area to inspire children is a coloring station, which can be scanned and translated into digital art and displayed on a live canvas. 

mercer labs new york transports visitors into the dreamworld of artist roy nachumartist Roy Nachum has spent six years creating Mercer Labs


project info:


project title: Mercer Labs: Museum of Art and Technology | @mercer.labs

designer: Roy Nachum | @roynachum

location: 21 Dey St., New York, NY

opening: February 2024