Libby Leshgold Gallery

Please join us for a symposium further exploring the themes of Designing Death: An exhibition of contemporary funerary architecture and objects. Featuring architects and designers from around the world, the exhibition explores the role of thoughtful and innovative design within the functions and rituals related to the passage from life into death, taking into consideration both the deceased and the bereaved that mourn their passing. The design choices that comprise the projects included in the exhibition are informed by the ways in which they are used, such as how a funeral procession moves through a building, how a body physically breaks down, and how a ritual object is used for memorialization.

Friday, March 29th, 2019

Talk by Cate Rimmer, Curator of Designing Death
7:00pm, Rennie Hall

Exhibition Reception
8:00pm, Libby Leshgold Gallery

Saturday, March 30th, 2019

Panel Discussion with architects featured in the exhibition:
D A Studios (Ikkurthy Srivalli Pradeepthi, Dommu Krishna Chaitanya, India), Bill Pechet (Pechet Studio, BC, Canada), Anu Puustinen (Avanto Architects, Finland)
11:00am-12:30pm, Rennie Hall


Design for the Dying
Talk by Ross Waddell

2:00-3:30pm, Rennie Hall

Design for death has been practiced for millennia, focusing on emplacement of the dead person’s possessions including their body, their disembodied spirit or soul (assuming there is one), and their position in communal life, both mundane and spiritual. Practices involve resting the body or its remains, mourning, remembering, honoring and memorializing the person, and for some, providing for a transition of the spirit or soul to an afterlife. Design for an embodied person who is living and dying, and design for the people caring for that person, has been more ephemeral. Prior to the development of modern medicine, people with serious, advancing illness and injuries died more immediately. Practices were more incidental and situational, and design for the people who were dying and their places of dying was rarely a consideration.

The embodied, existential experiences of people who are ill, injured and dying in contemporary times are important references for current design of places and practices of care. These are critical considerations as patients and their caregivers may spend extended periods of time in places of care, transitioning from life through dying to a moment of death and possibly an afterlife. Design for the Dying will explore recent research on the experiences of people who are nearing death or who have died and revived as a consequence of advances in resuscitation medicine. It involves the stories of people who had these experiences, and elements and effects of dying that can influence a design response.

Ross is the founder of the Canadian Centre for Death Education and Co-Leader of the International Association for Near-Death Studies, Vancouver Section. Through the Centre, Ross promotes public and professional discourse on dying and death and provides education on these topics in community, corporate and institutional settings. He conducts research on the phenomena of dying and death including listening and the languages of dying and death in particular. Ross translates this research to inform the design of places and practices of care. He holds a master’s degree in design research (York University).

Death Conversation Game
Angela Fama

3:30-5:00pm, Libby Leshgold Gallery

Personal death is a topic that is often avoided in social settings. The object of Angela Fama’s Death Conversation Game is to instigate open conversations on death in a safe, respectful environment with chosen friends, family, peers, partners, colleagues, classmates, strangers. The depth and breadth of the conversation depends on you. Whether it be ideological, theoretical, metaphysical, bookish details, scientific, emotional, or any other topic relating to death that interests you.

After a near–fatal car accident, Fama has focused her praxis on seeking unity through breaking down barriers surrounding “sticky” subjects including death and surprisingly, she found more joy and serenity in that quest than expected.

Angela Fama is an interdisciplinary artist and is currently a 4th year student at Emily Carr University. She also has a degree in photography from Langara University.

Designing Death

February 8 - April 21, 2019

Avanto Architects (Finland)
Capsula Mundi (Italy)
D A Studios (India)
James Michels (Canada)
Northwoods Casket Company (USA)
Nurn (Poland)
Pechet Studio (Canada)
Studio Nienke Hoogvliet (Netherlands)
Waugh Thistleton Architects (UK)