To Live is to Grieve

How can we design space that challenges enforced grieving stages and celebrates revised approaches to linear grief theory?

Collating personal experiences, ethnographic research, and deconstruction of traditional societal views, to celebrate diverse narratives of the grieving process. We will all eventually be confronted by death, and subsequently be greeted by the journey of grief that follows. This process looks different for everyone, and each experience has changing requirements with time. The dichotomy that exists within expressions of grief creates challenges around catering to a particular set of grieving “norms”; a focus of this thesis project throughout.

Accessible space is undeniably important, both physically in the fabric of the city and financially for those unable to afford traditional private therapy. It is equally as important that there is space for grievers to “just be” and to “feel human again”. We are all, whether proudly or not, wearing our grief glasses all the time, and design should be more acknowledging of this; one of the driving concepts of this thesis project was providing a “space to wear your grief”.

I explored the use of disarming conversational tools and in-depth research, to discuss grief and bring it to the forefront of conversation. With this, I rejected the notion of the five stages of grief and a linear grieving process, and designed with non-linear grieving processes at the core. Information was gathered from multiple perspectives about what people needed throughout their grieving process and with this, I established a set of design principles for “atypical” grieving. By gathering an archive of disused crockery, and smashing this to create form, my methodology to design became a visceral and emotive expression of grieving in itself. Through a non-linear design process, I arrived at a space that caters to a vast array of non-linear grieving processes.