Designer Diane Leclair Bisson has delved into what we do with the ashes of our loved ones and the accompanying actions, leading her to an exploration of sustainable scenarios and adding to the possible uses of urns to establish a bridge between the object and the person. Her research into contemporary burial practices, and the preservation or the scattering of ashes has also engaged her in a reflection about materiality, which has guided the design of a new typology of objects and materials. Diane Leclair Bisson and Memoria revisit wood and ceramic, innovating through the use of new biodegradable and water-soluble materials, and surprising, through the use of textiles, silicone and even ice. The collection reflects a novel opening into a new culture of funerary material.
This project exemplifies the contribution of design as a means to reflect on the recent transformation of funeral practices among industrial societies. It also illustrates the importance of rethinking the funerary material culture, particularly linked to cremation practices, which still remains today attached to a traditional esthetic that does not always reflect the needs of new practices and the meaning people may assign to them.
The collection, which has been on the market since late 2015, is the result of a three-year project involving anthropological research fieldwork and development of new biodegradable materials for Memoria, an environmentally and design driven funeral home constantly searching for new solutions for reducing the funerary ecological footprint.
Cremation rituals rose to prominence in many countries in recent years for both economic and environmental reasons. Diane Leclair Bisson’s collection of cinerary urns adapts to the many ways of disposing of the ashes. By its novel aesthetic and the meaning the urns may convey through new practices, the collection contributes greatly in defined contemporary meaningful rituals. The collection includes several designs for conservation urns for the home and the columbarium, sustainable and biodegradable burial urns, a hydro soluble urn made of ice for a water burial ceremony, a textile urn for dispersion, a rental urn, and reliquaries for keeping part of the ashes.