furin | designing ways to deal with death, memories and personal connections

The project’s main objective was to explore a range of materials and production alternatives for treatment, storage and disposal of such remains, across cultural and religious lines. The goal was to design a physical product solution which is respectful, personal alternative for sharing memories across time. By understanding the impact of population growth, urban density and sustainability issues on the storage of human remains, we as a species can find ways to cope with death and how to deal with the remains of our loved ones once they have left this earth in meaningful way.

When we die and burial is chosen, bodies are pumped full of toxic and polluting chemicals and then buried in the ground, where the chemicals leach into the ground. There are also other options, like cremation or recycling the body (by having the corpse eaten by vultures) like the Parsis do, so that one may use their body to fuel new life (it’s not for everyone).

Cremation is one of the most environmentally-sound solutions to reduce our bodies into basic chemical compounds. The scattering of ashes is a common practice. Ashes of loved ones are often scattered in requested or favourite locations and the act of scattering actions is a physical metaphor for us to let go of our loved ones. Initial concepts were designed with the intention of having the ashes scattering in a creative, but also sensitively manner.

Furin, Japanese for wind chime, was designed to slowly release the ashes of our loved ones slowly, to emulate our own process of coping with loss and letting go. The sound of the chime acts as a reminder to us of our loved one.

The final prototype was constructed with lathe-blown glass and ceramic.

Design completed: 2007.