Waterleaf's third contribution to the annual Portland Winter Light Festival is about the journey the dreamer takes: exploring a DreamShift.

After several lunchtime brainstorms and design charrettes, we developed an interior-focused design meant to invoke the dreamstate: falling asleep, drifting into the strange dream world, and waking through layers of sleep. Our challenge was to reuse elements of last year’s installation without it looking like a direct repeat and to meet our accessibility and sustainability goals: reusing as much as possible and make it accessible for everyone.

Expanding on the framework from our 2019 entry (Fast Forward>>), we focused our design on the interior experience. Iteration after iteration, sketching sessions after sketching session, we worked with the known structural elements and introduced new tactile layers, weaving them together into a new design aesthetic. The interiors are a balance of light, fabric, and form which invoke twinkly stars seen through a soft fog, jagged darkness over a red glow, and soft light filtered through a breezy curtain.

Over four weekends, working in the donated shop space of our collaborators Schommer & Sons, the team brought the concept to life, working with materials such as plywood, corrugated plastic, upholstery batting, sheer fabric, Christmas lights, and mp3 players, held together by nuts, bolts, staples and tape.

The final piece was a delight in theatrical illusion. A journey through a dream, allowing the real world to fade away for a moment, revealing a peaceful surrender to beauty and magic, interrupted by the dark and unfamiliar, followed by the dawn and a return to consciousness; an awakening.