Transit Studio has teamed up with renowned restauranteur Oliver Peyton to design the future of the funeral home in Chiswick, London, which aims to make clients more comfortable with the concept of death.
“We were really excited to hear about Oliver’s ideas to completely change how we experience and engage with our ultimate journey or that of a loved one, and felt that this was a fascinating and timely brief to engage with,” explains the studio.
In stark contrast to attempts to reinvent the rest of the high street, from estate agents to banks, the look and feel of the funeral parlour remains staid and uninspiring. On top of this, death has often been seen as a taboo subject, little discussed and very much subject to a rather Victorian approach, rather than a completely personalised occasion. “If we look at how weddings in the past 30 years have changed beyond all recognition to be completely bespoke celebrations, why shouldn’t a funeral give us the same potential to reflect peoples’ personalities,” continues the studio.
“We wanted to create an open and welcoming environment, that helped to break down the barriers that we felt existed in current funeral parlours,” said the studio’s director, Ben Masterton-Smith. “We wanted to create a sense of calm with the softness of a domestic environment, to help people feel more comfortable.”
The prominent corner site and Art Deco frontage allowed the design team to create a simple striking shopfront- removing all of the previous clutter on the façade, with a minimal hand scripted sign that glows above the shopfront.
Internally the architects have used a generous curved corridor to create an open lobby to link two new private meeting spaces- with one room set as a living room, and the other as a dining room and connected these to the contemplation space. The idea was to keep a little of the eclectic feeling of home, accessorized with prints of vintage star maps and constellations to provide a backdrop of an ethereal nature, taking inspiration from other worlds. The cheerful colors and timber floor accentuate the accessibility of the spaces, with comfortable pieces of contemporary and vintage furniture, and some feature lighting.
Transit Studio designed a beautiful folding timber privacy screen for the windows that can be left open to show the interiors to the street to create the openness and engagement, whilst at the same time offering complete trust and privacy and discretion when closed for a private meeting.
Without using the word funeral explicitly on the shopfront, the plinths with the miniature coffins and urn designs showcase the possible choices that Exit Here offers, along with the full size eyecatching design of the Day of the Dead inspired casket.