What do dreams mean? This Williamsburg experience offers a glimpse inside the mind

Dream Machine lets you experience common dream themes like flying through the clouds. Photo Credit: Shaye Weaver

The hour-long walkthrough starts April 5.

Dream Machine lets you experience common dream themes like flying through the clouds.
Dream Machine lets you experience common dream themes like flying through the clouds. Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Mayor’s Office

I sank into the bottom of a ball pit in Williamsburg, and I didn’t want to get out.

Inside a calming, pool-like installation at Williamsburg’s new “Dream Machine” experience, the ceiling seemed to be moving like water and I was floating on the bottom, held up only by blue plastic balls.

Was I dreaming? No, but that’s the point.

“Dream Machine” was created to make your dreams a reality. Each of its 10 rooms simulates common dreams that many of us have.

I’ve never floated through clouds in mine, but walking around big fluffy ones in a brightly blue-lit room was surreal, and a room full of striped and polka-dotted plants and grass was like walking across an alien landscape. Bubbles didn’t simply burst at “Dream Machine,” they released smoke.

Aside from lying in the ball pit, the most odd (and best) room had to be the laundromat. Styled just as you might expect (with actual chairs, dryers, washers and a coin machine), it has a few surprises that even I wasn’t expecting. Once inside, you’ll find a portal to space and also be handed a stick of cotton candy.

I’d do my laundry all the time if all laundromats were like this.

Co-creators Gary Johnson and Paige Solomon, who worked together at an agency that created immersive experiences for Netflix, Instagram, Uber and Pinterest, say “Dream Machine” is the closest you’ll ever come to walking through your dreams and remembering them afterward.

“Dreams are fluid, whimsical and surreal,” Johnson said in our interview, lounging in the ball pit. “Dreams are an escape, and I think that, with the world we’re living in and the feeds that inundate us with bad news, we don’t really [get a break]. We wanted to have a space that is a respite.”

Solomon, sitting on the edge of the “pool,” said it was important that the experience isn’t simply Instagram-worthy, but is actually a place you want to stay in.

“It was important for us that when you’re in the space there is movement and that it feels good to be in there,” she said. “The laundromat is my favorite and it’s exploratory nature. You’re going behind something and there’s something else on the other side.”

The bubble room has caused a real moment of joy for Johnson and his kids, he added.

Quitting their jobs, Solomon and Johnson set out on their own, accomplishing their dream of owning their own busineses, and hired a small but talented team, which includes Devin Cameron, a lighting designer who worked on “Sleep No More.”

With success in New York City, they hope to take Dream Machine around the country, making others’ dreams come true.

Tickets, which cost $38, are at showclix.com. The exhibit opens to the public on April 5.

Shaye Weaver