-- Two Singapore philanthropic houses join forces with U.S. National Funeral Directors' Association (NFDA) to transform deathcare through design and innovation
-- Winning designs to feature at 2013 NFDA International Convention & Expo, Austin, Texas
SINGAPORE, Feb. 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Designers worldwide now have a chance to change the way life's final exit is made.
The Lien Foundation and ACM Foundation today announced their collaboration with NFDA, the globe's leading funeral service association, to launch Design for Death, the world's inaugural international competition to re-design deathcare for the future. Administered by Designboom, the first and largest independent online publication dedicated to architecture and design with over 4 million readers, Design for Death invites designers, artists, architects and anyone with a creativity to present their ideas and innovations to inspire and transform deathcare practices.
Amongst the competition's jury members is Pritzker Prize winner Richard Meier and popular digital artist Ray Caesar. The competition will award a total of EUR$80,000 in prizes and seeks submissions for (1) how various aspects of deathcare can be environmentally friendly and (2) interpretations of how design can better encapsulate the deceased and remember them. Full details are at www.designfordeath.org.
Design for Death was conceived to catalyse the international creative and design community to re-think and re-imagine the trappings of a funeral or memorial service and how the deceased may be remembered. "We believe designers have the power to influence culture, consumption and the construction of meaningful experiences at life's final frontier," said Lien Foundation's CEO Mr. Lee Poh Wah. He recalled how his organisation's "Happy Coffins" design competition in 2010 received 733 entries from 33 countries. The idea of personalised coffins was positively received and even attracted commercialisation offers from the U.S.A.
"Through Design for Death, we hope to shift paradigms and spur new practical initiatives in deathcare - from green funerals and sustainable practices to upbeat send-offs and digital legacies," remarked Mr. Lee, who spearheads Lien Foundation's mission to improve care for the dying. "Good design stimulates, engages and creates an ideal backdrop for contemplation & conversations. We are leveraging design for social transformation of death attitudes."
Changing the business of death
Many new possibilities are springing up from six feet under - from reef memorials in the sea to diamonds made from ashes. "It's not far-fetched to say that the business of death can contribute to life," said Mr. Ang Ziqian, Founder of ACM Foundation, the newly set-up philanthropic organization of Ang Chin Moh Casket. "Innovations in deathcare can impact the future of our environment and influence daily lives. For example, thermal energy from crematoriums is now being channeled to power daily energy needs in the U.K. The age-old deathcare industry is re-inventing itself and sporting a new face for the future."
Global body lends its weight
Throwing their strong support behind this initiative is NFDA's CEO, Ms. Christine Pepper who added, "The needs of funeral consumers are fast evolving. Families are making decisions based on different values and expectations than previous generations. Families want funerals and memorial services to be meaningful and personal experiences that help them say goodbye to loved ones. Funeral directors are eager to discover innovations and ideas to help them better meet the needs of the families they serve."
The Lien Foundation is a Singapore philanthropic house noted for its model of radical philanthropy. The Foundation seeks to foster exemplary early childhood education, excellence in eldercare and effective environmental sustainability in water and sanitation.www.lienfoundation.org
The ACM Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization that 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 preserve the heritage of deathcare in Singapore. www.acmfoundation.sg
The 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 U.S and 39 countries. www.nfda.org
 Deathcare refers to services and products related to death, funerals, cremations, burials and memorials.
SOURCE Lien Foundation