Dream Machine transforms abandoned retail space into the latest made-for-Instagram ‘experience’


In the age of the mega-popular Museum of Ice Cream and a growing array of made-for-Instagram playgrounds, the latest color-saturated, interactive “experience” to arrive offers a sleepy twist.



A balloon installation greets visitors as they first enter the Dream Machine exhibit.

Dream Machine, opening April 5 in Brooklyn, New York, is inspired by a growing interest in mindfulness and better sleep practices. Inside you’ll find 10 dream-inspired rooms that flow into one another, each one as vibrant as the previous.

Founders Paige Solomon and Gary Johnson both came from an experiential ad agency, where they created pop-up spaces for brands like Netflix and Sony. With Dream Machine, they hope to channel their expertise into their own unique creation.

When the pair first stumbled upon this abandoned retail space in Williamsburg, it had been empty for a few years. The property had been locked into a separate 10-year lease, but with the promise of patching up broken ceilings and bathrooms as well as bringing “PR energy, ” they were able to secure a short-term contract for the space.

The entire experience, the founders say, uses “Instagram to design for Instagram. ” We’re not totally sure what that means, but just know that each room is a pre-setup photo moment.

There’s the secret washing machine room, entered by opening up a washer in a “drop-off and selfie service” laundromat, drawing inspiration from Yayoi Kusama’s famed Infinity Rooms.

An adjoining monochromatic blue ball pit (with 38, 000 balls! ) is highlighted by projections of moving water patterns.



Dream Machine founders Gary Johnson and Paige Solomon.

Even the paths from room to room are designed for snapshots, like rainbow arches that become smaller as you walk down the hallway.

But what exactly does it take to set up an experience so ’gram-worthy from the inside out?

Curbed got an exclusive look ahead of the opening to see how the space transformed from an empty retail spot into a kaleidoscopic photo-op wonderland.


laundromat room under construction

The washer machines open up into a mirrored room that mimics Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Rooms.



When visitors first enter, they’re greeted by a dreamy scene of floating clouds and blinking lights.



A construction worker installs lights in the hallways transitioning between rooms.



Lesley Scheuermann and Jean Nicolas Serna-Hincapie take selfies in the secret laundromat room, inspired by Yayoi Kusama’s infinity mirrors.


female employee garden room

“Dream technician” Megan Dinnerstein watches visitors walking through the garden room.


woman silver streamers

Guest Sarah Magid walks through the “it was all a dream” room, filled with metallic streamers.


man wiping checkered floor laundromat

A dream technician mops down the “drop off and selfie service” laundromat.

Dream Machine is open to the public from April 5 to May 31 with tickets at $ 38 a pop.


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