design for death

mysterium tremendum

mysterium tremendum by Fede Paz from uk

designer's own words:

“Death" has always been a main subject in human history; its arcane mystery has been the cornerstone in most religions and the initial impulse of countless mystic rites.

Nowadays - in the digital postmodern age - the topic returns mainly as an ecological issue. Analyzing the funeral process with the LCA method, it seems quiet obvious that Western societies burial methods are definitely not eco-friendly.

My project takes place in the CULTURAL SUSTAINABILITY area: it is inspired by the re-symbolization of burial methods. "Although the revival of 'metaphysics' is considered an achievement of our time, nonetheless the problem of being is unfortunately forgotten" M. Heidegger, Being and Time, 1927.

Human beings tend to exorcise the anxiety of the death putting themselves in the midst of world things, in the midst of humanity; actually only death can isolate a man and thrust him alone - together with himself. According to Heidegger, this approach to "being-for-death" is inauthentic, even if it obliges a man to design himself with the awareness of which is the most extreme possibility belonging to him. Death, precisely. Knowing that he/she can not solidify none of the existential situations reached.

Death marks the passage from "could-be" to "not-longer-be". Death is like an edge that goes on all the way life, shaping it. When this margin dissolves, life inside it becomes something else: something undefined and indefinable.

This tombstone is made by the same sand of the riverbank, completely devoid of signs - even a photograph of a smiling deceased; it remarks this mysterious passage about which we know nothing and that terrifies us.


A working prototype, Misterius is an hand made product, with all the imperfections and uniqueness of a non-industrial item. Nonetheless its simple construction process could be easily reproduced on a larger scale. 100x70cm of maximum size, the tombstone has been realized by myself in a craft lab with the same procedure used for other concrete object: river sand, water... and a lot of willpower.

Mysterium-Tremendum_Frontmysterium tremendumMysterium-Tremendum_Sidemysterium tremendumMysterium-Tremendum_Backmysterium tremendumMysterium-Tremendum_Detail-of-Handicraft

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