The design of a Factory Obscura extension in Norman is less than a year away.
Laurent Massenat, co-founder of the Oklahoma City creative space, said in a meeting Thursday with downtown stakeholders that they hoped to have the design for their planned expansion at 118 W. Gray St. returned in six to nine months. Co-founder Laura Phillips said they are still trying to figure out whether to lease or buy the now city-owned office building.
Massenat and Phillips did not give a firm date for the opening during the meeting.
The news follows the factory’s announcement in May 2021 of its intention to bring its experience to Norman the following year. The announcement was followed by a discussion from the city about whether to sell or lease the building to the collective.
Founded in 2017, Factory Obscura opened its first space, “Mix-Tape,” at Automobile Alley, 25 NW Ninth St., in Oklahoma City. The building was a Studebaker dealership in the 30s and 40s, and more recently a creative space for the Flaming Lips.
Phillips said the experience in space is strongly focused on interaction.
With their expansion into a 25,000-30,000 square foot space in Norman, the founders envision Factory Obscura to take larger scale ideas that might not be possible in the 6,000 square foot building in Oklahoma City.
The collective is also considering potentially occupying space on Comanche Street, to be used as a workshop and educational facilities.
“Our thinking is that the Gray Street campus would be more to attract people from everywhere, and the Comanche [space] would be more for people who are local who go to The Well at the farmers market and then come to the factory for a class and be more interactive with the community that is here,” Phillips said.
The collective also predicts that their expansion to Norman would bring 560,000 guests and 70 full-time jobs to the area by 2028.
Beyond creating jobs, the collective said they look forward to collaborating with local artists and creating synergy with their existing space in Oklahoma City. They also plan to hold community events where creatives can come to “play and make things.”
Jeff Elkins covers business, life and community stories for The Transcript. Reach him at [email protected] or @JeffElkins12 on Twitter.