Imagine the hustle and frenetic hum of the city as you try to navigate its crowds, horns blaring, sirens in the distance, the whirlwind of traffic and bike messengers racing to the tempo of the subway. Your mind is busy with the task ahead, noisy with today’s concerns, slightly numb from yesterday’s stress.
Now imagine a cocoon within this city. A soft warm nest, breathing softly with you like a maternal embrace. The quiet gives your mind room to stretch, sigh, explore. The clean air smells faintly of lavender; the texture of a soft blanket whispers comfort into your skin. The gentle light evokes memories of waking slowly from a childhood nap, the golden afternoon sun glowing just behind the curtains.
This is the Room to Daydream, envisioned by the Healthy Materials Lab in collaboration with Arianna Huffington’s new venture, Thrive Global.
Daydreaming is the mind’s incubator. Allowing our thoughts to wander (and wonder) invites insights that often elude the focused mind. Daydreaming allows us to question assumptions, make serendipitous associations and come up with surprising interpretations of the ordinary. We invite you to take a brief respite, recharge, and let your mind drift.
Particularly in the city that never sleeps, our bodies and brains crave true rest. Freed from the constant background noise of advertisements, smartphone use, and over-connectivity, the mind unfurls in gentle, contemplative release. Dreaming allows the focused mind to wander, inviting serendipitous associations and creative meditation. As Arianna Huffington explains in her book The Sleep Revolution, “technology may let us travel across time and space in an instant, but our dreams allow us to span deeper parts of ourselves.” Unfortunately, many interior spaces are constructed with products that contain chemicals and pigments linked to neurological disorders, lower IQ and hyperactivity in children. In the pursuit of true well-being from the inside out, The Room to Daydream is carefully calibrated to facilitate inward exploration while eliminating avoidable toxics.
“I wanted to stay there and never leave! The smell of lavender, the touch of the walls…”
The Healthy Materials Lab team included Parsons faculty, alumni, and current students, with contributors Alison Mears, Jonsara Ruth, Jennifer June, Marina Lodi, Thanos Stathopoulos, Lena Kouvela and Jack Dinning. Reflecting on Thrive Global’s mission of enhancing well-being and preventing burnout, aligned with the HML dedication to promoting the prioritization of human health across all aspects of building practices, the project team envisioned a space for daydreaming built exclusively with healthy materials. The sequence of the installation gradually leads the visitor to enjoy a restful 20-minute nap, an interval which has been proven to improve mood, alertness and motor skills.
In the Awake Space, a guest is offered a cup of tea — the caffeine will help to gently rouse the body from rest after twenty minutes. The Pre-Dream Space invites the replacement of shoes with soft slippers, and the switching off of technological devices. Moving into the Daydream Room, the guest lies down on a wool-covered bed with their own clean pillow and blanket, and is soothed to sleep with the scent of lavender.
Wool was chosen as the primary material for its natural properties of sound reduction and air purification, along with its resistance to bacteria, mites, and mold. All surfaces in the room were covered in flokati wool rugs — including the bed, as wool also naturally regulates body temperature. Gentle ambient light was programmed to subtly “breathe” in a restful eight-second fade cycle. The blue spectrum most disruptive to the body’s circadian rhythm is eliminated, and the warm color temperature is softened by the cool tones of the ceiling, which was treated with a mineral-based, non-VOC emitting paint. After each guest uses the space, all surfaces are sterilized with a UV wand to ensure a pure, rejuvenating experience for the next visitor.
In this increasingly interconnected world, our relationship with technology has become a tricky balance between empowerment and addiction. The barrage of visual noise confronting the urban dweller leaves little room for meditative thought, and our reliance on smartphones threatens to escalate distraction to a fever pitch. Perhaps more than ever, we need spaces that present the opportunity to escape this noise — rooms for daydreaming.
- Paint, EcoDomus (zero VOC, mineral based), by RomaBio
- Flokati (100% wool wall and floor coverings), by Coco-Mat
- Pillows, by Coco-Mat
- Wool Sheer Curtains, by Donghia
- Daybed, Bench, and Blankets, from Design Within Reach
10:00 am - 7:00 pm
Thrive Global Pop-up Store
419 Broome Street (SoHo)
New York, NY 10013
November 30th - January 15th
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