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The Art of Letting Go
Thousands of Italians are severely affected by Covid-19 and suffer from sudden loss of their families. We want to give a chance for them to give the proper goodbye to their loved ones by creating a memorial placed in the center of Sempione Park that actively plays a part for Milan people to cope with the pandemic situation.
Our design approach is based on the All Souls Day tradition in Italy where the dead souls and living souls get closer to each other. Therefore, the ideas of shifting realm become the essence to form a transition place that connects the realms. We embodied the journey of the transition place as four chapters; The Lost, The Trauma, The Memorial and The Memories.
In ‘The Lost’, the visitors will experience sudden darkness and confusing pathways to the underground, the embodiment of entering the transition place. Each visitor will be given a personalized electric candle that becomes their guidance to the next chapter by illuminating via mobile app.
Entering ‘The Trauma’, visitors are welcomed by the reinterpretation of dead souls in the immersive screen along the long passage, allowing them to build a dialogue with candle as medium. When visitors are used to the ‘dead souls’ around, they suddenly face a tiring inclined passage and again lose the dead souls ascending from sight. This allows us to reimagine how confusing and frustrating it is to suddenly lose someone they are familiar with.
Then, the visitors are left with confusion and doubt in choosing between two paths. In the middle of unsure of validating their choice, they find themselves in the same space called ‘The Memorial’, where the water wall begins. The water elements represent the beginning of eternal life of dead souls, thus the visitors could float away the candles on the water flow, to send their prayers. The wall of honor beside them is filled with flowers and pictures of their beloved ones. This becomes a mark that they are here to pay respect for them.
In the space where all the candles are gathered, with names of their loved ones visible around, it becomes a solemn moment for visitors to gather and pray for their beloved person. It also allows them settling everything so it could ease and lessen their pain. We hope this action could strengthen the bond as a society who goes through the same despair of loss.
Finishing the prayers, the visitors are guided by the water flow to ‘The Memories’. The display of Covid-19 story timeline leads to an immersive space where they can share their memories by uploading via mobile app. The screen not only brings visitors to retrace their memories but also encourage them to identify, validate, and show gratitude for the feelings that they experienced beforehand. Then, visitors are gradually merging into the park to return to their own lives.
We hope this memorial may help those who bereave to heal and free themselves out of despair through the symbolic embodiment of letting go.
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