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Happy Coffins Before You Die » How to Leave this World In Style

Would you fancy to ‘leave this world' in style? Leave this transitory life for the eternal afterworld in a colorful and uber-cool coffin that looks like an art canvass or a gift box?

I have previous posts regarding different fashionable ways to kick in the bucket list – wherein we can choose a non-traditional ways of disposing our body or perhaps a customized tombstone. Accordingly, I was amazed by this news in a broadsheet yesterday about a Singaporean charity which announced the winners of an international art competition to design "happy coffins." The aim is to encourage the elderly and dying to celebrate life, with 3,000 US dollars for the first prize winner.

Actually, when I read about it, I immediately googled it and came across The website features quality of death index, a first ever global study on the quality of death across 20 countries. The site also has a dedicated page for the things you could do and say before you die, a bucket list, last playlist and a legacy galley. It also highlights the winning “happy coffin” designs.

Well, I think these coffins are cool, why not?

The Happy Coffins contest

In July 2010 an international art competition was facilitated by online portal for creativity, Eyeka. A total of 733 entries was received from 37 countries. Artists and designers from Asia, Africa, the Americas, Australia and Europe enthusiastically responded to the challenge to get creative with the most unusual of canvasses – the Coffin.

Participants had to design a coffin for a family member, close friend or someone who had been an inspiration. Or they could choose to design their own coffin. Each entry had to be accompanied by a written sharing of the thought process leading to the final design.

Professional designers were presented the challenge of creating 3 personalized coffins for residents of the St. Joseph’s Home & Hospice (Singapore) or for a family member, close friend or someone who had been an inspiration. Or they could choose to design their own. Six winning designs out of 733 entries from 37 countries were made into personalized coffins in cooperation with a local funeral home. The awesome entries and winners are compiled at the Underground Gallery.

The project was spearheaded by the local Lien Foundation, which favors non-traditional forms of philanthropy. Under the slogan "My Life, My Coffin" the foundation said it wanted to encourage people to think "out of the box" about taboos surrounding death.

The winning designs

First Prize
"Hello Coffin" by Ines Van Gucht, 27 from Belgium

According to Ines
“This coffin is designed for myself so I wanted it to be personal and real.

I have begun thinking about my life, the future, my death and my funeral. These things raise many questions, like – Who will I be? Will I be happy? Will I be happy with what I made of my life? Will there be regrets?

I cannot answer these questions now.  And once I lie in my coffin, I guess these questions won’t matter. The only certainty then is this coffin. That is why I designed my coffin to be my friend - the one who will take care of me after my death.”

Second Prize
"An Inspiring Force" by Ian Lim Wei Ming, 25 from Singapore

According to Ian:
"This coffin is dedicated to my late Art teacher, Ms Ivy Ho Hwee Ting. She passed away in 2002 from Hepatitis B. The image on the coffin is without facial expression because the essence of Ms. Ho’s smiles cannot be replicated in a painting. But her love of sunflowers is clear.

A devoted mentor, she carried on helping us even after she left teaching for further studies. Her love and enthusiasm inspired me to follow in her footsteps and take up design as a career. This coffin is specially created in appreciation of her"
My Pick among the Merit Prize

My Favorite Things in Life by Martin Matera

R.I.P. (Rest In Pride) from Indonesia
Genesis from Indonesia

The Boatman’s Call from  Singapore
Love is Our Life from China

How about you, what would be the design of your coffin? 

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