Paige Solomon: Sleep Til Brooklyn
By Brett McKenzie on Sep 13, 2018
Dream Machine creator Paige Solomon puts us to sleep in a good way
Earlier this summer, tens of thousands of people flocked to Williamsburg to check out Dream Machine, Brooklyn's Instagrammable interactive experience that thrusts visitors into their own pleasantly surreal psyches. The project was the brainchild (dreamchild?) of Paige Solomon, a creative who decided to go out on her own after working for an experiential agency.
Ahead of Paige's Artist Talk at the One Club Gallery next Thursday, we threw a few questions her way about what it's like to be an experiential designer.
"Experiential Designer" probably wasn't what you said you wanted to be when you grew up. How did you discover this world and know that there was in a place in it for you?
Ha, good question. Growing up I thought there were so few professions. When I was heading to college, I had no idea what I wanted to do because the jobs I knew about didn’t appeal to me. I putted around and did a bunch of different things, but I always came back to making and creating. I was working in a hair salon as a stylist and had a client that went to The Creative Circus. I went and checked it out two days later and ended up enrolling a month after that. The end goal was to find a job as a graphic designer at an ad agency. But half way through school I took a class called environmental design and I was hooked. Unfortunately, after school when I applied to different experiential agencies, I didn’t have enough skill sets in the 3D space to land a job. Finally, after a few desperate, but funny, emails, I landed a job in New York. Within my first month of working, I knew I had found my thing. Experiential design utilized all my skill sets and challenged me in so many ways. I feel really lucky to love what I do.
What was the initial inspiration for Dream Machine? Did it come to you in a dream?
I worked in an agency creating experiences for brands. I was also a consumer at various pop ups and saw the insatiable market demand. A couple years into the industry, I was working crazy hours, getting paid very little, and feeling uninspired by the same client brief after client brief. One day, with a lot of blind confidence, I thought to myself, “what would it look like if I created experiences for my own brand?” Dream Machine was born.
"One day, with a lot of blind confidence, I thought to myself, “what would it look like if I created experiences for my own brand?” "
What sort of mindset do you have when creating an experience for a brand versus one for more artistic purposes?
I think, at least for me, it’s the same mindset. I always try to create a story and a narrative that helps cohesively shape the design of the experience. If you fail to design with a why, then it might look pretty, but it won’t feel powerful.
What comes first most often, the idea or the technology? More specifically, do you think of something and then figure out how to create it, or do you discover new tech and then think of ways to take advantage of it all?
I actually don’t use tech -- or very little of it rather. Everything inside Dream Machine is tactile and shareable. I think because we live in such a technology driven world, an escape back to basics is very important to me and my design process. However, I think when used right, technology can be a great addition to a space.
What's the one creative rule that you have that should never be broken?
When you set a deadline, you meet it.
Paige Solomon speaks at The One Club for Creativity Gallery next Thursday, September 20, in our latest Artist Talk. Tickets are free for One Club Members and $10.00 for non-members.