There is a giant egg named Ellis living in the Lower East Side who has hopes and dreams like the rest of us. His apartment space, which has been dubbed The Egg House, can be found on Chrystie Street where he welcomes you all to come and join him on his adventure through New York City.
The Egg House is a pop-up food museum created by a talented group of graduates from New York University, Parsons, School of Visual Arts, and Pratt Institute, with backgrounds in art, interior design, marketing.
The entire space is egg-themed, with dozens of pink wooden spatulas hanging from the ceiling, large styrofoam eggs in an oversized carton at the center, and a large pool with yellow and white balls near the back.
The egg-sthetic carries into the food that is present in the space. From eggnog to white chocolate-salted lollipops created to look like an egg, The Egg House went above and beyond to make Ellis’ home a reality; and the perfect place for an Instagram picture.
“It took ten days to build it,” BiuBiu Xu, the founder and visionary for The Egg House said. “I haven’t slept for three days. I just painted all of the things with my friend. Honestly the hardest part was painting all of these spatulas.”
Throughout the construction of the pop-up, Xu focused on the layout of the store and the different interactive exhibitions. The specific egg-theme was inspired by Xu’s fascination with New York City brunch culture. She began to take the “different elements of the egg” and created a yellow, white, and pink color-scheme based on a sunny-side up egg.
On the other hand, Ellis the egg was more of an after-thought during the conception of the space. She originally did not want Ellis to have a personality or story, but after working closely with her staff members, who are predominantly Chinese, she was inspired.
“We came up with Ellis because Ellis Island is the station for people who come through New York City,” Xu explained.
Ellis’ dream is similar to the typical “American Dream” of traveling from a far away place to achieve success in the States. This “dream” element of the popup comes into play upon entering a large room near the back of the space and seeing a large egg with eyes on a bed.
This egg is Ellis, or rather how he sees himself when he is sleeping. The space is a large, pink bedroom with a desk opposite of the bed where passerby can leave Ellis words of encouragement in a notebook. When looking out the windows of the room, a screen flashes images of different areas in New York City, some of which include the Lower East Side and Times Square.
“He’s explored Times Square, The Egg Shop, The Met, and all of these places in the city,” Truc Nguyen, a manager at The Egg House explained. “He’s settled into the Lower East Side and he’s been working really hard being a waiter and doing all of the things people do to survive in the city when you first get here.”
Surprisingly Ellis’ storyline becomes a commentary on the struggle most New York newcomers face upon arrival in the city. This becomes especially apparent when taking a trip downstairs to the basement where the pretty yellow, white, and pink colors turn into a surreal nightmare.
The once pastel and bright color-scheme becomes a dark purple and neon green space where large lime-green orbs are suspended from the ceiling, surrounding an object in the middle. This object is a large cracked egg, hanging from the ceiling like a swing. Visitors are encouraged to sit in the fractured egg and take in Ellis’ nightmare.
“It’s almost like Alice in Wonderland,” Nguyen explained. “As you explore the rest of the place, you’ll find that some of the rooms are fun and exciting, while others are more surreal and scary.”
Swinging in what is interpreted to be Ellis’ corpse—or his shattered dreams—in the basement is a complete departure from the vibrant atmosphere upstairs. This is the last room in The Egg House, but Xu has one last trick up her sleeve that may surprise visitors.
The Daily Beast was lucky enough to get a look at this secret room that is currently not open to the public. When peeping inside through a small hole in a wall, we were able to take a look at the real Ellis, and what his life is actually like.
The setup inside this peephole room is set up similarly to the bedroom upstairs. In this room you can see everything has been downsized to fit the small space, with a small, real-life egg laying comfortably on a tiny bed.
“That’s the real Ellis that fell asleep,” Nguyen said. “Everything else in the house is his dream, and all his wishes in New York.”