2016 Inception Award | SLEEP TRAM

Rosemary Sargood


Strangers driven to the edge of sleep


Sleep Tram investigates the potential of spatial practice to conjure an act of sleep within a public and socially integrated setting. The project asks that in a future where intermittent sleeping will advance into the public domain, can spatial
design provoke ideas and discovery surrounding
a social act of sleep? By introducing a new future of intermittent sleeping driven to counter modern society’s social jetlag, the act of sleep is presented as an activity rather than a necessary human requirement, exploring a new approach to the interactive space. During the sleep experience physical and visual interaction of strangers will transpire, altering the participants’ consciousness and perceptions of social customs.

In transforming the act of sleep through a communal approach, the design proposal asks
for physical closeness of strangers, encouraging intimacy through an interactive and collaborative spatial experience. The participants are persuaded into this initially uncomfortable notion through a choreographed sequence of experiential programs introduced within the site.

The project presents an overnight experience inviting participants to partake in an induced sleeping experience, conjured through sensory activation. The tram’s interior is dominated by variations of pink light, being found to aid sleep as it opposes the colours of natural light, therefore inducing sleep through our naturally responsive internal clock. The design also draws references from infantile sleep as the movement of the tram provides a sense of being rocked to sleep. These sensory factors induce sleep in its most natural form.

The carriages each present a new sleeping experience which introduces a communal act
of sleep while also representing a stage within
the suggested sleep cycle of the future, which shifts more directly between sleep stages and wakefulness. The formal design derives from exploration of the tram’s gripping apparatus, identifying the buffer space between each person’s body and transforming these taboo areas of touch into inhabitable spaces.

The rst carriage encourages human contact during sleep by providing fragmented bodily supports.
By partially creating the negative forms of our natural sleeping positions, the need of others to assist our sleep is presented. These forms are constructed from memory foam which absorbs bodily movements, easing the participants more quickly into sleep.

The second carriage allows for the inhabitation of the interior of the tram’s hanging handles. These support free hanging of varying sleep positions, while also allowing for entwining among other participants. The lack of muscle restriction allows for the deeper stages of recovery sleep to be reached. The movement of the tram will cause unexpected interaction as the participants knock against each other.

The third carriage encourages the true communal sleeping experience of the cuddle puddle, the physical intimacy of a group. Lined with an enlarged contoured foam the participants naturally fall together into the crevasses. The foam is responsive to the outside, allowing sound and light effects to intrude into the tram, as by this point the sun is beginning to rise and eases the participants back into wakefulness.

Sleep Tram exposes the uncomfortability caused by the presence of strangers through the required interaction and intimacy. The outcome presents a unique spatial experience for its participants, not only creating an act of sleep that directly connects with the internal body, but also introducing the potential of stranger interaction and a social

act of sleep. Exposure of this possibility causes perceptions to shift and blurs the line between public and private spaces and activities. Sleep Tram proposes a public future of opportunistic sleep and acts as a catalyst for discovery within social interaction and observation surrounding the intimate act of sleep.