Artificial dreaming is made possible with Swarovski's crystal dream machine

Artificial dreaming is made possible with Swarovski's crystal dream machine


Text: Adibah Isa

Can’t relax? Swarovski’s dream machine by artist Frank Kolkman could be your cure

Unfortunately, just because Frankie says relax, it doesn't mean you actually can. If you want your dreams to travel the world and the seven seas, you're probably not alone. But more often than not, activities that take place before said slumber often make up of texting, emailing, and plugging in and out of our social media accounts — for better or for worse. In collaboration with Swarovski, Dutch designer Frank Kolzman has deconstructed these cultural trends to create a dream machine that might just allow you to enter into a state of deep relaxation.

Simply put, the experimental designer has harnessed the properties of crystal to enable you to dream, albeit artificially. By generating light and sound patterns from Swarovski crystals that synchronise with alpha and theta brainwaves, the machine uses neurobiology, neuropsychology and psycho-activation techniques to produce a solution that helps us cope with the demands of modern life. Using a bespoke 3D composition based on brainwave stimulation by London sound artist Sam Conran, the sound design is inspired by diffraction patterns in X-ray crystallography, which uses the properties and inner structures of crystals to determine the arrangement of atoms to generate findings.


Kolzman's commissioned work is built in response to Swarovski's brief of smart living: Can crystal innovations make the way we live our lives smarter, more interactive, sustainable, immersive and accessible?

The answer: Yes, if you dare to dream. Unveiled at Design Miami/Basel in June, Kolzman's 'Dream Machine' exists in a similar vein to his previous works, which operate on the borders between digital and physical space with the use of electronics or mechatronics. For Dutch Design Week last year, the Royal College of Art graduate used virtual reality to simulate a near-death experience to aid terminally ill patients into the unknown. He's also created an open-source machine that allows people to perform keyhole surgery on themselves using a PlayStation controller.


"It's about trying to imagine, generate and test alternative ways of doing, seeing and understanding beyond what's probable in the future," commented the Kolkman on his approach to design. "By making these alternatives tangible it allows us to collectively discuss their preferability in relation to what's already there." His design has earned him the 2018 Swarovski Designers of the Future Award winner, along with Study O Portable and Yosuke Ushigome of Takram. His research into the 'Dream Machine' took him to Wattens in Austria, where Swarovski is headquartered to explore the company's archives, design centres and innovation programs.

With self-care as a concept that's ever so trendy and prevalent in our social consciousness, Kolkman's 'Dream Machine' is an innovation that demands attention from the wellness industry. The popularity of crystal's healing properties doesn't hurt either. Just put two and two together to dream a little dream and make Frankie happy. 


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