An oasis away from the hustle and bustle
The opening ceremony of the redesigned Room of Silence took place last Saturday. It is located in the historic burial hall in the cemetery in Stans.
Moisture – a so-called dry rot – had badly damaged the former cemetery chapel before 1866. Therefore, there was an urgent need for the renovation of the building under cantonal homeland protection. After a positive response from seven religious communities and the Nidwalden Cultural Promotion Agency, the city council decided to convert it into a neutral room of silence. It must be non-sectarian and inter-religious, local councilor Florian Grendelmeier said in his welcome address. He thanked the community of Oberndorf, the cemetery commission, the construction management, the preservation of the monuments and all those who contributed to the success of the new location. In particular, the culture commissions of the communities of Stein and Oberndorf, as well as the canton of Nidwalden, were included. This was evident in the impressive opening ceremony as well.
Artistic design with respect
Carmen Wursch, mezzo-soprano, and Esther Bunter, dancer and choreographer, explore a wonderful space with mystical elements. In doing so, he underscored the artistic contribution to the spatial redesign. These are limited to floors and ceilings and set open standards. They encourage memories of the deceased and thoughts about their own situation.
Artist Anna-Maria Bauer painted the floor as a “passage”. It should trigger reflections on life paths and their positions and marks. Artist Philip Wirsch has developed a play of lines on the ceiling. The lines and pictures of cloud formations on the wallpaper strips should enclose the space and at the same time open it up.
Simple benches on tall walls give the room of silence a new direction. The cube furniture elements come from the hand of sculptor Karl Imfeld.
This leaves space in the cemetery for rituals or ceremonies in small groups or just for quiet contemplation.
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