Once upon a time

by Virginia Lau on Jun 9, 2011 in Products
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From Milan to Miami to Hong Kong, French designer Mathieu Lehanneur showcases his fairytale sleep capsule ‘Once Upon A Dream’ for Veuve Clicquot’s Hôtel du Marc in Reims

How did you become involved with this project?
A year ago, Veuve Clicquot asked me to design a piece for their Hôtel du Marc in Reims. They said it could be whatever I want. But when you tell me that, I don’t know what to do. As a designer, I always need a question, a brief and context.
So I asked Veuve Clicquot what goes on in this hotel. They explained to me, “For example, Kanye West will arrive from LA at night and go to Seoul the day after.” So I thought it would be interesting to work on sleep and jetlag – to offer guests a kind of sleep experience that is very deep, efficient and rich in terms of dreams.
What was the concept for this project?
To create more than a bed – an object between the bed and the room. The most common term is ‘sleep capsule’ – the idea was science fiction balanced with a fairytale princess waiting for the prince – this idea of sleep like a huge dream. I had Star Wars and Snow White in mind.
How did Veuve Clicquot respond to your proposal?
When I told them about my concept, they were amazed, because Barbe-Nicole Clicquot-Ponsardin herself was a notorious insomniac. It was a pleasant surprise for me.
What are the key features required to ensure deep sleep that you’ve included in Once Upon a Dream?
Initially I thought we could probably play with light and sound. But when I met Professor Alain Nicolas, he said we had to work with temperature as well. The main idea of these three parameters was to create a slow decrease of light, noise and temperature.
How does it work?
The first step of the programme is to decide how long you want to sleep by touching the button beside the bed. You can choose from one to 12 hours. The curtains close automatically. After that, you start the sleep programme by touching the leaves of the plant above – it’s a real plant connected to sensors. Music starts and the light changes depending on what colour you choose. The noise is white noise that sounds like a waterfall. It helps you disconnect from outside noise.
The size of this bed fits one person comfortably. Why didn’t you design a bigger one?
When I first met Professor Nicolas, he said, “Mathieu, if you want to create the perfect bed, it has to be a bed for one person, because if you have a partner, you never get the same cycle of sleep.” It’s bad news and a little bit sad. For this reason, I used a plant rather than an industrial switch to start the programme. It’s not skin, but it’s better than a stick.
Besides Hôtel du Marc, where do you see Once Upon a Dream being useful?
Some hotels are interested and we can also easily imagine this concept in airports, for example. You have time because you are in transit. Plus, you are so jetlagged, it would help to work on the synchronisation of your biological clock.