The practice of cremation has become increasingly prevalent as a reaction to the ever- increasing consumption of land for burial, but also as a more environmentally acceptable alternative to burial by demonstrating a lower overall carbon footprint.
Designer Diane Leclair Bisson’s MORTAL | DESIGN and DEATH project has been developed collaboratively with Memoria - an environmentally and design-driven Canadian company whose core mission is to develop innovative, sustainable options in the funerary practices sphere.
The Ice Urn is a dissolvable memorial object made through the transformation of water into a solid form of ice – while encapsulating cremation ashes within it. It is the most immaterial urn ever created, and it inspires new types of water ceremonies, emphasizing new thinking about the return of the body to the natural environment and of water back to its original source.
This concept is the result of fieldwork research on people’s experience and perceptions of contemporary funerary material culture. The Ice Urn is designed for the dispersion of cremated remains in a stream, lake, in the ocean - or even in soil - and allows for vastly personalized ceremonies. The concept is the result of technical research resulting in a patent. The Ice Urn is shaped with a cavity to hold ashes. It is sealed and can retain its shape and floatation for the duration of the ceremony. The urn minimizes the carbon footprint considerably by producing re- usable shaping moulds, and employing low- energy freezing methods.
The Ice Urn may embody a wide range of physical shapes. The initial design recalls sheets of melting springtime ice usually found floating in bodies of water, which communicates ideas of fluidity, lifecycle and the passing of time. The shape also addresses functional handling requirements by offering large flat surfaces easy to cradle and transport.
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