Thinking

Jan 8, 2015

CUSTOMISATION BEYOND DEATH

Have you planned your funeral already?

By
Armin Kreiner-Norkunas

Do your relatives know what kind of funeral you’d like to have? What type of gravestone would you like to have placed on your final resting place? What shall the funeral ceremony look like? Do you know which music should be played and who shall give the eulogy?

Funeral arrangements are certainly not an on-the-top-of-my-head topic; still it remains an unavoidable and crucial issue to deal with. In fact, the wish in mankind for a graceful and adequate funeral origins in withstanding caducity and the everlasting fear of having vanished from the face of the earth one day – an engrafted and continuous feeling of threat in people.

Therefore, funeral arrangements and the handling of mortal remains stay an important issue – not only for the deceased but also for bereaved, because it’s their very last chance to pay the utmost of respect to a beloved one. That is the moment, when wishes and believes of the deceased move into the centre of attention:

The Ga-Adangbe tribe in Ghana for instance strongly believe that a person will move to another life when passed away. This conviction made them world famous for the coffins they make – some even go as far and call them “fantasy coffins”. These coffins are symbolically shaped in interests or activities of the deceased – this way coffins turn into planes, shoes, beer bottles, cars, etc.

Certainly, the industry has picked up on that and started to offer products and services particularly designed to individual expectations. In addition, sociocultural tendencies and trends in society have important impacts on this development as well. One of these influential trends in funeral arrangements is customisation.

What happens when merging the trend of customisation with the incremental human withstanding to caducity?

The company called ‘That’s My Face’ takes this momentum to a whole new level: they use latest technologies in facial reconstruction, facial analysis and methods in transforming 2D portraiture into 3D sculptures. From just a photo or two, mainly capturing people in their prime, customised urns in the shape of the head of the deceased are manufactured.

Morbid idea?

Well, some venders like ‘Cremation Solutions’ call it “personalization gone a bit too far” or “creepy”, but still “fascinating to say the least”.

However, casting of heads and busts have been around as memorials and pieces of art for hundreds of years already and they rarely got called creepy, right?

Read more at: http://www.thatsmyface.com, http://blog.cremationsolutions.com

Armin Kreiner-Norkunas

Head of Innovation & Design Management

Armin Kreiner-Norkunas, the Austrian-born Design Management graduate led our department of innovation management until 2017. As Design Thinking expert, he supports a diverse and international range of companies in design research, ethnography, insight development and co-creation. In addition, he acts as trainer for innovation methods.

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