Designed experienceDesigned experience

Skogskyrkogården is considered a shining example of the “designed experience”, meaning that the design is created around the visitor’s experience of the site.

When Skogskyrkogården’s architects Sigurd Lewerentz and Gunnar Asplund designed the landscaping and the buildings, they started with the experience of the visitors – the concept of mourning and the feelings surrounding it.

This is expressed in various ways. For example, the processional routes leading to the chapels are designed to create the appropriate mood for mourners prior to the funeral service. After the service, attention is drawn to the natural surroundings, to help reconcile the mourners with the sadness of their loss as part of the circle of life.

The clearest example is the Seven Springs Way leading up to the Chapel of Resurrection, which is lined first with birches and then with conifers, the nearer the mourners get to the chapel. The idea is that this will make them more solemn as they approach the chapel and the funeral ceremony. After the ceremony, the mourners are led out of the chapel’s west door and take a different path back. This is meant to help the mourners let go of their grief and gradually return to their normal lives again.
 
The processional route through the trees to the Woodland Chapel has also been carefully thought out. The woods immediately surrounding the chapel are considerably denser, which helps the mourners into the right frame of mind. Inside, the chapel is illuminated by light from the circular dome, which creates a different atmosphere again. Once again the mourners are led out a different way, emerging into the light and the open landscape.

Another example of the designed experience is the steps up to the meditation grove. The higher you come up the steps, the lower each step becomes. This is so that visitors are not tired out by the climb, instead feeling calm when they reach this place of meditation.
Even the minor details have been carefully considered. For example, the benches in and around the three chapels of the Woodland Crematorium are designed so that they are not completely straight. They have a slight kink in the middle. This is so that the mourners do not feel alone at this difficult time. They can see each other and feel a sense of togetherness.