A new competition hopes to redesign our approach to deathcare

Death to get a makeover thanks to new competition

A competition to redesign death is seeking innovative ideas to change our approach to funeral care.

Today saw the launch of the Design for Death competition which is inviting designers, artists, architects and engineers to present their ideas and innovations to transform deathcare practices, with €80,000 in prizes to be won.

Judges are seeking submissions showing how aspects of deathcare can be made more environmentally friendly and also how design can better encapsulate the deceased and remember them.

With thermal energy from crematoriums being channelled to create electricity, ashes of loved-ones being turned into diamonds and reef memorials being created in the sea, Lee Poh Wah, CEO of the Lien Foundation helping organising the competition, believes attitudes to death are already changing.

"We believe designers have the power to influence culture, consumption and the construction of meaningful experiences at life's final frontier," he said.

"Through Design for Death, we hope to shift paradigms and spur new practical initiatives in deathcare - from green funerals and sustainable practices to upbeat send-offs and digital legacies."

"Good design stimulates, engages and creates an ideal backdrop for contemplation and conversations. We are leveraging design for social transformation of death attitudes."

The Lien Foundation is working alongside the ACM Foundation and the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA), the world's leading funeral service association, with the contest to be administered by Designboom.

"It's not far-fetched to say that the business of death can contribute to life," said Ang Ziqian, founder of the ACM Foundation.

"Innovations in deathcare can impact the future of our environment and influence daily lives. For example, thermal energy from crematoriums is now being channelled to power daily energy needs in the U.K. The age-old deathcare industry is re-inventing itself and sporting a new face for the future."

NFDA CEO, Christine Pepper said: "The needs of funeral consumers are fast evolving. Families are making decisions based on different values and expectations than previous generations. Families want funerals and memorial services to be meaningful and personal experiences that help them say goodbye to loved ones. Funeral directors are eager to discover innovations and ideas to help them better meet the needs of the families they serve."

Visit www.designfordeath.org for more information.

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