Mourning Altar

    Mourning furniture is a series of wall mounting altars that physicalize different stages or ways to grieve, exploring the complexity of grief and expanding all elements into simple visual representations. The intention of the series is to offer the bereaved users something they can hold on to during the mourning period. Users are encouraged to store physical items that are important to them or the deceased and establish their own symbolic rituals or routines to interact with the product. Since mourning is not something about which there is always common ground, the series mimics small elements that are sometimes neglected during the bereavement period. The product aims to symbolically provoke the sense of honesty and vulnerability. The themes are easily recognized and associated by the bereaved themselves, but are very eye opening for the outsiders. Therefore, the series will also help announce some of the difficulties the bereaved could potentially be facing. 

During a period of loss people have to deal with two things; tasks and emotions. According to author Elizabeth Kobler Ross, funeral arrangements and general busyness are part of the healing process. However, sometimes they can be so overwhelming that there is not enough time for emotion. After the funeral there are many rational decisions to make,  for instance, sorting the deceased’s belongings and deciding what to keep and what to toss. The furniture allow the deceased to sort both the physical and emotional remains of their loved ones' departure.


 I was also intrigued by the term Memento Mori, a Latin word meaning‘one day we must die’. The theory of reflection of mortality and virtues hasplayed an important role in Western classical art throughout history.  The traditional and commonly found forms of Memento mori art are skulls or decaying plants as a symbol of death. The concept of time is also a very strong aspect in this theory. The furniture isprimarily a philosophical piece that represents that classic statement ‘Time Flees’. Playing with the word ‘moment’, there are present moments and moments in our lives. Users will light the candle to momentarily think about their lost loved ones. After the memorial ritual finishes, there are remains of the candles that fill up as time goes by. The practice of keeping track of time is a reminder to remember the lost ones and to remind yourself of your own death.