design for death architecture
design for death architecture

C A L L - F O R - E N T R I E S






designboom in collaboration with the LIEN FOUNDATION and
ACM FOUNDATION, and supported by the


present the DESIGN FOR DEATH international design competition to catalyze the international creative
and design community to re-think and re-imagine deathcare* for the future.


DESIGN FOR DEATH will encourage creativity and establish leadership through the intersection of design,
thanatology and deathcare to inspire future practical initiatives. It will challenge and change perceptions
about the ways in which families honor, remember and celebrate the lives of their loved ones.


This not-for-profit initiative is the first-ever, global competition of its kind.
Call for entries for the second round of competition begins on Monday, 1 July 2013

* Deathcare is the provision of services and products related to death, funerals, cremation, burials and memorials.











01 - Introduction to DESIGN FOR DEATH


What is the future of deathcare?

Caring for the dead is an important part of any society, and how it is done reflects the prevailing culture.
As societies evolve, the customs and traditions surrounding funerals and memorialization also change.

Social and cultural changes in death and bereavement practices impact the way we engage with the
environment and physical spaces of final repose, recollection and memorialization.





How can design shape the future of  deathcare?

Changing demographic, social and technological trends have new implications on death
and dying and the way families remember and honor loved ones.

Design for Death’s first round of competition unveiled future trends and ideas of how
the dead will be treated and remembered. Themes emerging included biodegradable caskets,
home memorials and the use of technology in memorialization.

This shifting consciousness underscores the need for new interpretations of the way we deal
with death and dying, and how the use of space influences the way we grieve and remember the dead.
The second phase of Design for Death seeks to unveil the next-generation designs for requiems
of the future in the place of repose, sites of bereavement and remembrances.






02 - Theme and Overview of the Award


In its second call for entry, Design for Death seeks architects, designers and creative talents worldwide
to push the boundaries of deathcare with fresh perspectives of how we interact with physical spaces
and architecture in bereavement and remembrances.

The intersection of life and death takes place when the living gaze upon what used to be and face
the reality of mortality. From the inner space of contemplation to the outward rituals of death
and bereavement, these junctions of life and death occur in funeral homes, columbarium,
crematorium, cemetery, memorials and places of remembrances.
While these places hold intensely personal and private moments, they also represent collective experiences
of departure and remembrance. The intricate spatial links are meshed with the individuals’, societal and
cultural emotions, beliefs and customs.

Using design and architecture to explore the relationship between physical spaces and death
or bereavement, the competition puts forth the challenge to:

·     Reconstruct the spatial experience between death and bereavement
·     Redefine the use of space for bereavement and remembrance and
·     Reimagine how deathcare can be transformed to mediate and improve the experience of bereavement, goodbyes and remembrance






03 - Prize/Benefits


There will be cash awards for 3 winners:


1st prize: 25,000 euro
2nd prize: 10,000 euro
3rd prize: 5,000 euro


The results will be announced at the 2013 NFDA International Convention & Expo,
Austin TX 20-23 October 2013 (2013 NFDA Convention).
The cash prize awards will be presented to the winners at the Convention.

The winners will be invited and required to attend the Convention to present their works.
The cost of one (1) economy class air ticket from the winner’s home country to Austin, TX,
will be covered and accommodation will be provided.
(Only the air travel and accommodation of one person will be paid for even the winning entry is submitted by more than one person)


(The annual NFDA International Convention & Expo offers the world’s largest funeral service expo and
the opportunity for funeral directors from around the world to interact, network and learn from one other.
Comprehensive continuing education courses ensure attendees learn from top experts in funeral service
about a variety of topics, including marketing, cremation, making arrangements, “green” funerals and more.
Each year the convention is attended by thousands of funeral professionals, suppliers and educators worldwide
who are dedicated to ensuring families receive the  highest level of service during their of need.)


And as always designboom will publish an exhaustive results report.





04 - Judges


1. Minsuk Cho - MASS STUDIES - architect
2. Hani Rashid - ASYMPTOTE - architect
3. Ben van Berkel - UNSTUDIO - architect
4. Birgit Lohmann, editor-in-chief designboom
5. Christine Pepper, Chief Executive Officer, NFDA
6. Ang Ziqian , Founder, ACM FOUNDATION
7. Lee Poh Wah, Chief Executive Officer, LIEN FOUNDATION






05- Judging Criteria


It is important that you keep your design(s) confidential until the results of the competition are published.
The jury will award artworks, designs and concepts that are innovative in terms of their formal aspects,
uniqueness of perspective and originality of solution regarding the theme.

Please do not submit vague concepts, but go a step further. It's not the idea that is the art,
it's more the way somebody handles the idea that makes art.





06 - Registration deadline


Application registration will be accepted by 23:59(GMT), 1 September 2013.






07 - Registration


Registration is now open, please fill in the form.
Teams register with one name only; when submitting works you should add the names of all the team members


registrations are closed







08 - Submit your entry / entries


If you are entering more than one work, please submit each work separately.

Only winning and maybe some shortlisted entries will be showcased at the 2013 NFDA Convention.
There may also be visual exhibitions at other design festivals around the world.

When requested, shortlisted participants will have to provide/prepare high resolution images
or videos of the works, or whatever is required to showcase the works properly
at the 2013 NFDA Convention and design festivals.




For submission of entries, you are requested to supply:


1. Images:
You may submit up to 6 
images (either single or composition images)
Image size should be: 818 pixels wide, not more, not less.

Please upload the following file formats only:

.gif, or .jpeg, 
- 72 dpi, max 250 kb each file, 
- RGB color mode.



2. video files: 

You may submit up to 2 videos in flv  format only.
max size 10MB.


The entry submitted will be a low-res version of your original work. 

The original high-resolution image(s) and video(s) will be requested only if your work is shortlisted.



3. Explanation
Please provide a brief description of your design. Jury decisions will be based on the core design criteria.
You should consider a broad spectrum of issues that demonstrate and showcase the ways in which design
can make a positive impact on the deathcare experience/service (English text only)




4. You will be requested to accept the competition guidelines

Competition guidelines:
Projects entered in the competition must be original works.

Projects must be free from copyrights and any kind of obligation. The design shall not in any way infringe
any third party’s rights, including but not limited to intellectual property rights such as copyright, logos,
trademark, trade names, or other proprietary rights of publicity or privacy.

By submitting the work, every participant warrants that he is the sole owner of the intellectual property rights
in the work submitted and has the right to submit the work for competition and to give LIEN FOUNDATION,
ACM Foundation and the NFDA the right to exhibit the work submitted.

Only entries with a declaration of authorship will be accepted !
(When submitting your design you will be asked to tick a box of declaration).

submissions are closed







09 – Deadline for submission of entries


Works can be submitted by 23:59(GMT), Sunday 1 September 2013.





10 - Announcement of the results


The results will be shared sometime towards the end of October on designboom's official website.





11 - Intellectual property rights


Any intellectual property rights regarding the project sent in for submission are the designer’s property.


by participating in the competition, all participants authorize
designboom and the LIEN FOUNDATION, the ACM FOUNDATION and NFDA 
to publish and exhibit all the designs (including project data submitted and prototype) – waiving compensation –
at exhibitions and events and/or to use them in any publications and communications
and promotional materials that designboom and the LIEN FOUNDATION,
the ACM FOUNDATION and NFDA may deem suitable and/or necessary. 

designboom, the LIEN FOUNDATION, the ACM FOUNDATION and NFDA will have the right to apply
minor changes and amendments without damaging the integrity of the work e.g. add the LIEN FOUNDATION
and ACM FOUNDATION logo and text, reframing, translation, changing colors,
cutting the background or parts of it, etc
Should designboom, the LIEN FOUNDATION, the ACM FOUNDATION, NFDA want to make major changes
to the submitted work for publication, they will contact the designer and obtain consent.






12 - Questions?


Inquiries to [email protected]
Make sure to write 'DESIGN FOR DEATH' in the subject line.
(English text only)







LIEN FOUNDATION & Life Before Death
The LIEN FOUNDATION, a Singapore philanthropic house noted for its model of radical philanthropy,
seeks to push the envelope further in its mission to advance eldercare and advocate better care of the dying.


One of its flagship programs, the Life Before Death initiative, was first conceived in 2006 to create greater public awareness about end-of-life issues in Singapore. It sought to de-stigmatize death and dying by spurring various ‘die-logues’ with the use of social media, art, films and photography and advocacy though research. The initiative has since gone beyond Singapore.

Life Before Death undertakings include:
an online short films competition

Happy Coffins -personalised coffins created for aged residents of a home
and an online competition to create coffins

a photographic feature of individuals in their 'Last Outfits'

Design for Death is part of LIEN FOUNDATION’s continuing efforts to promote
and cultivate a culture of “living well, leaving well”.

For more info, see:








The ACM Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization formed by Ang Chin Moh Casket
in commemoration of its 100-year heritage. The Foundation aims to enhance the perception of death
and bereavement among the public, uplift the deathcare profession and advance philanthropy in this area.
The ACM Foundation will also champion and preserve the heritage of funeral and bereavement services in Singapore.


For more information, see








The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) is the world's leading and largest funeral service association,
serving 19,700 individual members who represent more than 10,000 funeral homes in the United States
and 39 countries around the world. NFDA is the trusted leader, beacon for ethics and the strongest advocate
for the profession. A worldwide source of expertise and professional resources for all facets of funeral service,
NFDA is dedicated to supporting members in their mission to provide families with meaningful
end-of-life services at the highest levels of excellence and integrity.


NFDA International Convention & Expo
The annual NFDA International Convention & Expo offers the world’s largest funeral service expo and the opportunity
for funeral directors from around the world to interact, network and learn from one other. Comprehensive continuing
education courses ensure attendees learn from top experts in funeral service about a variety of topics, including
marketing, cremation, making arrangements, “green” funerals and more. Each year the convention is attended by
thousands of funeral professionals, suppliers and educators worldwide who are dedicated to ensuring families receive
the highest level of service during their time of need.

For more information, visit








You may wish to read the following:


Deathscapes Spaces for Death, Dying, Mourning and Remembrance
Edited by Avril Maddrell


Trends in Funeral Service


Reinventing Today’s Funeral Through Innovation


Entrepreneurs reinvent the Funeral Industry