Death, A Notion
Contemporary Western society has all but abolished the need for a formal grieving process with death becoming an avoided, feared, and shameful topic. In a brutal revolution from the omnipresent death of the past, death is now unfamiliar and displaced. An all-consuming society rushing to beat mortality by finding new ways to extend one’s lifespan, becoming increasingly secularised and refusing to permit the ugliness of death within the collective happiness of today’s society. This results in places for remembrance and acceptance becoming scarce, with silence and stillness becoming confused and conflicted with the noise of cars and footsteps. Therefore the void between life and death grows larger, increasing in depth and stature as awareness fades. This thesis raises the question of interior design and architecture as a key participant in the discussion of death in contemporary western society. The fractured relationship between death, bereavement and society is analysed in order to establish how societal attitudes and the perception of death has shifted. More precisely the research explores the specificity of an interior spatial design needed to assist the grieving process associated with the loss of a loved one, both at an individual level, and as a collective experience thereby seeking to create a plane of resonance between the land of the living and the obverse, the land of the dead.