Spending Valentine's Day on the couch with ice cream and romantic comedies might sound ideal, but the folks at the Thompson Miami Beach have a better idea. The Love Shack is popping up inside the beachside hotel 1930s House to connect dating past and present with interactive experiences to spark conversation, curiosity, and maybe even love.
"It's cool because it's not too sappy, but it still taps into a bit of that sap," laughs Bruce Pinchbeck, creative vice president at the New Tropic, which collaborated with the Thompson, the Wolfsonian-FIU, and dating app WhoNow for the pop-up. The media company had been working independently with the museum and the hotel, later sparking the idea for the three to create an event together.
"The Wolfsonian had a great idea in activating items from the museum," Pinchbeck says. "And we knew the Thompson was interested in a collaborative piece, so this Valentine's Day thing just seemed natural and sort of happened on its own."
The Love Shack welcomes couples, singles, and everyone in between. Pinchbeck says it's designed to be as all-embracing as possible. "We intentionally made it so nothing feels forced," he says.
"Everything is fun and lighthearted and just gets the conversation going. It's basically a way to mix and mingle without saying, 'Go mix and mingle'... We're also interested in creating events where singles can come out, though it's not just a singles event," Pinchbeck says. "It's the perfect way for singles and couples to blend together."
The event is centered on the different types of courting and how things have changed over the years. "You'll really feel the mix between old-school-type chivalry and sweetness, blended with fun, sexy, and modern dating," says Heather Cook, head of education at the Wolfsonian. "And the fact that it's taking place inside the 1930s House and focused on dating between 1850 to 1950 will just make it really fun."
To help guests warm up, Cook and the Wolfsonian team created "Feel Me Up, Turn Me On," a hands-on activity featuring an eclectic collection of objects from the museum to serve as an ice-breaker.
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"We're bringing between ten to 15 objects from the museum that are quirky and maybe less recognizable," Cook says. "Most of them are domestic items, like irons and toasters. You'll grab a partner and literally feel up the objects to guess what it is. Hopefully it'll make meeting people easy."
Cook says she's excited to see conversations bloom from interacting with the museum's pieces. "That's really the purpose of the museum. And to promote these conversations through fun and games is really amazing to see as an educator."
Besides the hands-on activity, there will also be a kissing photo booth, backyard games, perks and prizes, and lots of food and drinks. The two organizers, Pinchbeck and Cook, hope to see hundreds or even thousands of people shuffle in and out throughout the night. "It's really not your typical singles event," Cook says. "It has a cool angle, and I have a feeling there will be a good turnout."
The Love Shack
8 p.m. to midnight Saturday, February 13, at the 1930s House at the Thompson Miami Beach. Admission is free. Visit thenewtropic.com.