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This year, the world was shaken by the deadly COVID-19 virus. Unfortunately, more than 1,167,000 people have died so far. Millions have lost a loved one, a job, or suffered in isolation, and it comes to no one's surprise that depression rates have skyrocketed. This COVID-19 memorial is meant to be a place of reflection, mourning, and recovery for those who have felt the effects of this pandemic.
The memorial’s structure is based on eight 15-feet-high columns which lift up the waved ceiling. Hanging down from the ceiling are strings with shattered glass pieces attached to them. Each shattered glass piece has an LED light that illuminates it from inside. Under the ceiling, there are four blocks of natural stone that provide seating opportunities for visitors. In accordance with safety guidelines, these seating blocks are more than six feet apart, so that visitors can feel safe while enjoying the memorial. The glass pieces and dark metal columns are made out of recycled materials and the lights are lit by solar panels located on the top of the ceiling. This makes the memorial environmentally friendly and self-sustainable.
The motif of shattered glass pieces resembles the emotions people may have felt during the pandemic. Many people lost someone or something, ie. an important piece of their lives, and many others have felt the destructive effects of the virus which is reflected in the shattered glass. Therefore, the memorial relates to people who, for example, may have lost someone to COVID-19 and to people who feel depressed because of social distancing. The minimalist floor stands in juxtaposition to the lit up ceiling, emphasizing the shattered glass pieces and the curved ceiling.
Another symbolism of the glass pieces is that they represent the souls of those who have died. The memorial illuminates the glass pieces to show that they will not be forgotten. Additionally, the curved ceiling is a metaphor for the first and second wave of COVID-19, the two phases of the pandemic we have experienced so far.
The memorial is a place designed for people to be introspective. The polished metal columns are reflective which allows visitors to look at themselves and reflect on their lives during the pandemic. People can go to the memorial to have a silent minute, process their grief, and spread awareness of the seriousness of the virus. They can do so by scanning the QR code located in several places of the memorial which will lead them to a website that contains information on COVID-19, social distancing guidelines, as well as donation links to foundations that help other people who have suffered during the pandemic. People can also buy a shattered glass piece similar to the ones on the memorial that will be delivered to their home address, and all proceeds will go to charities. Finally, every month, several glass pieces will be added to the memorial until the pandemic is over to remind people of the ever-increasing death toll.
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