In Aug 2020, I was introduced to Stephanie and Rachael from Casket Fairprice Funeral Services, through Roland Tay, from Direct Funeral Services. Having successfully transformed the Memorial Hall at Direct Funeral Services in 2017, embarking on this 2nd memorial hall project was to me, a great opportunity to share and expand my deep believes in the afterlife.
As the 3 attributes of our existence…Birth, Life and Death, is something we will all experience, I personally like to see this as a “journey of life”, something beyond our human understanding, but certainly something to be celebrated in death. Death after all is to me…A New Beginning. Drawing on the 3 attributes of Life, this is the inspiration behind the design elements in the 2 Memorial Halls, named Sky and Ocean Hall.
In any memorial service, it is key to create a environment of calm and peacefulness for those who are mourning, but also to create a “space of dignity” for the person that has passed on. In my approach for the halls, I chose to see it from the perspective of the soul that has passed. The use of marble effect finishing was the embodiment of the “value and dignity” of the soul. Combined with the element of wood, which represents the “everlasting life of the soul”, these 2 elements were the key to my design intent.
A challenge was posed during the brief by Stephanie, as the halls serves different religious believes and practices, was it possible to create furniture pieces that was adaptable? Well 1 of the key in interior designing, is to resolve a question, or a problem. The Alter table is a basic furniture in any funeral service, from its basic utility as a display of a photograph of the soul that has passed on, to decorative elements of flowers, gifts and offerings, its extended form and use varies in different religious practice. For example, in Buddhist ceremonies, the celebrant who are the monks, congregate together at the altar to chant prayers for the soul. While in the Catholic faith, a priest is present to say prayers for the departed. For the altar table, it was designed as 2 separate parts, the main altar table that provides the basic utility, and a smaller table that while separate, can be tugged under the main altar table when not in used. The altar table was designed with 3 supporting wood fins, on the left and right side of the main body of the altar. The 3 wood supports, represent the 3 attributes of life, Birth, Life and Death, supporting a clear glass that represent the purity of the soul of the deceased, facing up to the “heavens”. These 3 elements is further carried into the reception table as well.
The main backdrop for the halls, is stepped form the outer right and left wing to the centre. There are 2 steps to reach the middle section, reflecting this journey from Birth, Life to Afterlife. The middle backdrop carries the picture of the departed, with lights flanking on the left and right of the picture, creating a heavenly, dignified representation of the rising to the Heavens.