The exhibition shows contemporary design around saying goodbye, dying, mourning and remembering. Spread over two exhibition rooms, it features fifty current designs, including our two very own Bios® designs, around preparation for death, farewell, mourning and eternal life.
The exhibition shows how designers, often after a personal experience, give substance to the needs and rituals that exist around death. Being able to talk about death can make a big difference in reducing fear of death and accepting death as part of life.
At Bios, we spoke to the creators of the exhibition as we were very interested to get their take on the ever-changing funeral industry.
Interview with the creators of the (Re)Design Death exhibition
What inspired the exhibition (Re)Design Death?
Cube is a design museum that shows design for human needs and ambitions, design with impact. More than half of the Dutch no longer practice a religion and consequently there is a growing number of new farewell rituals and objects that help people mourn and remember their loved-ones. The (Re)Design Death exhibition explores this theme.
What sort of people do you hope to attract?
The target groups we hope or expect to attract with this exhibition are people that are interested in design products and the process of designing. Also people who are either professionally of personally interested in the topics death and dying. They might be looking for ways to start a conversation about death (for example when loved ones are ill or very old), look for ways to deal with grief, or are interested in new and alternative rituals and methods for funerals. We’d like to break taboos surrounding death and dying and at the same time have visitors reflect about their own life, about their own ideas or wishes, at least make them think about it.
Do you expect international interest?
Cube design museum is literally located at the border of Germany and is also very near to Belgium. So of course we try to attract international visitors as well. But despite this, our cultures of dealing with the topics death and dying, can be different. The Dutch are quite straight forward people, also when it comes to those sensitive topics. Although our exhibition and communication about the exhibition will be respectful and tasteful, it still might put off Germans for example. We will find out how international visitors are going to respond to (Re)design death.
How is death approached in your country?
More than half of the population in Holland no longer practice a religion and consequently there is a growing number of new farewell rituals and objects that help people mourn and remember their loved-ones. A typical ceremony around death in the Netherlands would be in a funeral centre and would mostly be a cremation.
What new trends do you think are rising relating to choices around death and the funeral industry?
In the Netherlands, there are more people cremated than buried. And there is definitely a rise in sustainable funerals. There are already some green cemeteries or memorial forests in Holland. There is actually one in the neighborhood called Natuurbegraafplaats Eygelshof.
What do you think of the Bios® products that you have featured in your exhibition?
We found out about the Bios Incube® after carrying out research on the internet, although we had already heard about the Bios Urn®. I think the objects looks great. They are nice pieces for our exhibition.
I personally really like the idea of growing a tree out of the ashes of a loved one. I can imagine it might help to deal with the loss, especially since there is something to take care of and that you can see it growing. I’m not sure whether I’d like to have a tree / plant growing from ashes in my house, I think I’d prefer to plant it somewhere outside. My only concern about this idea, is that it will be difficult if the plant/tree growing out of the ashes may not grow. I guess that would be quite an emotional situation…
Have you thought about your own personal end-of-life plans?
Except for having decided that I’d like to donate my organs when I’ve died, I haven’t really thought about my end-of-life plans yet. But to me it would be important that my funeral will be as environmentally friendly as possible.
The (Re)Design Death exhibition is open from 11th February 2020 to 21st January 2021 in Holland. Further information and tickets are available on their website.
What do you think of the (Re)Design Death exhibition? We would love to hear from you in the Comments section below!
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