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its a dream

'Mate, You're Dreamin'

The use of colour plays an important part to reawaken the sensory journey into imagination and dreaming.

Architect students concept of dreaming in todays world

For architecture students sleep is an elusive concept that so often tugs at eyes. Rather than appreciating its gentle call, attitudes today are indoctrinated by Edison’s electric light, casting a long shadow on sleep, ‘a criminal waste of time’.

The result, a population of overworked and sleep deprived masses drifts through our cities bending to the forces of economics and efficiency. Enslaved by the conveyor belt of asphalt, we commute further for our enslavement and work longer for our upkeep. Subdued and docile, dreaming fades from our sleep.

This project seeks to offer respite and places to dream. By identifying forgotten and neglected spaces in the city, a refuge is woven by soft folds of warm embrace, the fabric of the enclosure meanders in space, working with the constraints of the site, while attempting to hide in plain sight.


The structural shells condition light and shade, openness and nooks finished in Resene Lily White (blue white). The refuge taps into our ancestral roots and offers spaces to dream collectively as well as in private.

Upon entering the sanctuary between the drape walls, warm copper sunlight cascades from the walls, basking the visitor in a lazy Sunday afternoon glow, reflections on the metallic copper surface blur the edge of space, carving out a terrain vague from the fabric of the city.

Its a dream imagery
Its a dream imagery

The reflection pond calms the mind, altering the acoustics inside and reflects ripples of light in motion. Paired with the use of neutral pink on curved surfaces, an illusion of vast expanse is created. Passages branch off into cocoons, treetop nests and sunken burrows. The mind now untethered is free to drift and wander.

Like dreams, the undulating surfaces may seem random and at odds with reality, however pragmatically, they provide a range of affordance to the users. This small gesture hopes to tip empowerment to the masses, to bring awareness to one’s mental wellbeing, to provide respite from the rhythms imposed upon us. And above all, to provide a return to dreaming.


The pink hues of Resene Sundown (rosy pink) and Resene Rose (muddy pink) were selected through research into colour and the effect it has on our mental state. Pink was found to induce calmness and imbue a sense of softness and security. The pastel pinks also contributed to a sense of the infinite when paired with the smooth curved surfaces that dissolved the distinction of a horizon and edges. The pinks are applied in uneven patches bleeding into one another, allowing one’s focus to wander.

Bright Resene FX Metallic Copper Fire was selected for its reflective qualities on the interior of the outer shells, with Resene Lily White as a calm white. The copper reflects rich warm light into the interior. Matched with the undulating surfaces and captured reflections, the metallic surface also blurs the perception of limits and stimulates the imagination. The use of colour plays an important part to reawaken the sensory journey into imagination and dreaming. 

The forms were generated by capturing the motions of the human body at rest. These were then traced and manipulated by an industrial robot arm, creating these dream-like images, which reflect the qualities and delicacy of sleep and dreams. The curves mapped and manipulated ultimately informed the final spatial qualities of the refuge.

Titled ‘Mate, you’re dreamin’, this project won the Resene Total Colour Rising Star Maestro Award. The judges said “Ambitious and very entrancing, this is beautifully thought through and presented as a well-developed solution for current ills. The design is cocooning in colour and form, with the colour palette reinforcing the shape of the structure and the sense of being enveloped in a big hug.”

Designer: Qun Zhang
Winner: Resene Total Colour Rising Star Maestro Award
Project: Resene Total Colour Awards 2018
From the Resene News – issue 2/19

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Resene Total Colour Awards 2018


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