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Place of silence

We usually report on new innovative products for playgrounds and residential areas here. Projects that bring people together and make them happy. But there are also places that we design, where people seek silence, want to withdraw from the world. These places also belong to our lives. In cities and municipalities cemeteries fulfil this function for the most part. But there are also other places where people are looking for calm. Hospitals, for example, belong to these. Here, people often have to cope with a bad diagnosis or the loss of a person, events that completely change life as it has been.

There is such a place in Luckenwalde Hospital since several months. The project was initiated by the ethics committee of the hospital. The first talks already took place in 2012 between Claudia Gust of the company SIK-Holz and the hospital chaplain Johannes Lorenz. He explained the phases of grief, which she translated into a design draft. It envisioned as the main element an artistically designed wooden relief of large, split oak blocks. The splitting caused traces in the wood, which were then deepened or elevated. The principle of design followed the phases of mourning: confusion, negation and anger in the lower and middle range to acceptance and new paths in the upper part of the relief.

The draft remained in hibernation for three years, until the midwives of the ethics committee revived it. They felt the need especially for women to have a place to consciously mourn a miscarriage or stillbirth. The project was implemented as part of the vocational training for wood sculptors at SIK-Holz®. There were discussions on the spot, studies were made, the right wood was sought and the large oak planks were attended to with great sensitivity. The wooden stilts are embedded in a hornbeam hedge, which screens the visitor from the outside world. There is labyrinth made of ceramics that is embedded into a table. You can see it as a symbol for beginning and ending or for the way to the centre of life. Visitors can light a candle at this place.

Silence and light are healing impulses to cope with partings and losses and to find hope and confidence. The coming to terms with the experience thus represents the end of a chapter and the beginning of a new start. This creates the feeling of «come back» to life.