"The Daydreamer" - Reinventing the Public Bench With Collective Motion and Music South Bend, US by Daily tous les jours

“Daily tous les jours” introduces Daydreamer, a sculptural interactive and kinetic bench for collective experiences and suspended moments. 
The creators behind the Musical Swings, Daily tous les jours, are taking the concept of collective motion to new heights with Daydreamer—a sculptural series of interactive, slowly rocking benches that compose gentle music and encourage synced-up choreographies.

Conceived to create a ritual around a moment of pause, the artwork stimulates a communal experience in a soothing soundscape.

Daydreamer benches are scalable and customizable for diverse indoor and outdoor settings.

-text by the architects

Can cities be built for collective daydreaming? 

Daydreamer reinvents the public bench, encouraging slow, rocking, synchronous motions to bring a therapeutic quality to public space.

Rocking is known to induce a state of daydreaming, reducing stress and anxiety, while synchronous activity, according to different studies, strengthens social attachment and empathy among a group well beyond the moment of coming together.

Components & Interaction
A set of revolving long benches host a sound and sensing system. Each bench accommodates up to four people and is finished in Canadian white oak, with a powder-coated aluminum arch. Interactive LED lights are integrated in the arch and under the seat to emphasize movement.

When people sit and push the benches to rock or spin, music and light animations are triggered through motion detection, merging analog and digital movements. The benches rock in four quarters, or rotate 360˚ with a bit more push from the user. People may sit on the bench or hold the arch from a standing position, or from a wheelchair, to make music. No matter how people play, the mechanism inside the benches’ pivot centre ensures the motion is slow.

Voices & Collaboration

All the sounds of Daydreamer are recordings of the human voice. The notes that are sung depend on the position of the bench and direction of travel. Volume is dictated by the speed of movement. By mapping multiple musical parameters to different physical states, a strong gestural link is created between body movement and music. Each bench occupies a slightly different musical register; soprano, alto, and tenor. Voices sing more complex partitions when benches are moved in synchronicity to encourage collaboration between players. The ensemble is an evolutive tapestry of tension, release, motion, and stillness.

Diversity & Inclusion
The artwork aims to create inclusive and diverse social spaces. Very slow bench rotations make for safe playing for elders and children alike. The bench can be turned by holding the arch, easing the music-making exercise for those in wheelchairs. A resulting soft spectacle mixing sound, movement, and light offers sensory diversity in a soothing manner. Daydreamer stimulates a wide range of informal connections by inviting a very wide audience to explore and connect through joy.

Known for creating free, playful outdoor and interactive urban installations that spark joy within public spaces, Daily tous les jours has been pioneering the importance of play and its positive impacts on health and wellbeing. The Daydreamer installation invites members of the public to interact directly with the work.

It provides a simple ritual around a moment of decompression so that, as per the title of the work, the public’s imagination is called into play, and the public space becomes a place of relaxation for urban dwellers.

First Trio
A first set of three benches were installed in the city of South Bend, Indiana (US) as part of revitalization efforts to reconnect citizens to their riverfront. The kinetic musical benches allow passers-by to tune in to the natural landscape, while creating a new space for calm and collaboration in the city.

Credits & Details

Project: Reinventing the Public Bench With Collective Motion and Music
Permanent artwork, Urban furniture
Categories: Public Art
Where: South Bend, Indiana (US)
Design: Daily tous les jours

About Daily tous les jours

Daily tous les jours leads an emergent field of practice that combines interactive art, storytelling, performance, and urban design to reinvent living together in the 21st century.

Founded in 2010 by Mouna Andraos and Melissa Mongiat, the award-winning Tiohtia:ke/Montréal-based studio has been producing projects in over 60 cities around the world.

Working in partnership with municipalities, public realm programmers, and private sector clients, Daily tous les jours’ interventions are designed to create unexpected experiences that bring strangers together in a spirit of play, cooperation, and creativity.

The scenarios they create put the human back at the centre of strategies for urban development, engaging the public with ideas about mobility, resilience, social connection, and civic engagement. Their work has been described as “infrastructure for the human spirit.”

Daily tous les jours’ previous projects include: Musical Swings (2011-2014-2021), a series of swing sets which unlock sequenced melodies; Cimbalom Circle (2022) for Budapest’s House of Music, part of Daily tous les jours’ series of musical pavements; Bouchées Sonores (2022), a curation of sound experiences to accompany those eating in public settings; and Walk Walk Dance (2021-2023), a series of musical lines that encourage new pedestrian choreographies.