Farewell Spheres / Abschiedssphären

This design research project investigates atmospheres in funerary spaces


This project examines the interplay between space and the dead body in situations where relatives are laid to rest. The focus is on design measures that aim to create an atmosphere of farewell. 

The farewell sphere is composed of the following three sub-areas to be investigated: Space, dead body and recipient (or relatives). The study should generate design knowledge about the production of farewell spheres that can be applied in practice. As a secondary objective, the concept of atmosphere will be described from a design perspective.

A broad base of research shows how powerful and important the direct encounter with the deceased is - or could be (again) - for the grieving process of the relatives. At the same time, evidence-based studies on the concrete design of laying out settings from a design perspective are still a desideratum. The same applies to the concept of atmosphere introduced by Gernot Böhme (Böhme, 1995): Here, too, concepts and perspectives of design are missing. This project generates its research question from this twofold desideratum.

The research work moves at the interface of cultural studies research, empirical social research and design research. Following results are expected:

✴ Recommendations for the design of funeral settings
✴ Elaboration of a design-specific concept of atmosphere and
✴ a design-based method of analysis for the evaluation of farewell spheres.