Lisa Merk wants funeral ceremonies to be environmentally friendly and comforting with pebble shaped urns attendees can hold on to

Lund University student Lisa Merk displayed a series of small urns called Tactile Perception at this year's Stockholm Furniture Fair, designed to provide comfort for people who hold them during funeral services. Her work was part of the NOW/THEN exhibition hosted by the Lund University's School of Industrial Design.

The wooden urns are made to look like small pebbles as Merk tries to reimagine today's burial rituals. Inside rest ashes of the diseased, which funeral-goers may decide to keep with their urns or put back in a larger urn before leaving the ceremony.

Lisa Merk urns 2

The larger urn is also made of wood and features a lid where the Merk imagines individuals placing the small urns to symbolize letting go, before laying them all in the big urn and closing it. “When all urns are gathered, the decreased person can be buried as a whole,” she explained in her project description.

What makes the pebble-urns comforting are their size, as they fit into the palm of a hand and provide something to grab onto while grieving, similar to worry stones. Merk has even polished them so that they are soft to touch.

Merk developed the urns so that they can't be re-opened once they're filled with someone's ashes. The urns that friends and relatives decide to return to the larger urn will decompose since  sustainability was a main theme behind the works, so she subsequently left the wood untreated.

Lisa Merk urns 3

Merk wanted to make burial rites a more environmentally-friendly practice. After all, traditional coffins are not so great for the planet.

“The mini urns as well as the main urn are suggestion to change our burial habits into an organic, biodegradable system that can go back to nature without harming the soil,” she says.

Lisa Merk

Lund University student Lisa Merk displayed a series of small urns called Tactile Perception at this year's Stockholm Furniture Fair, designed to provide comfort for people who hold them during funeral services. Her work was part of the NOW/THEN exhibition hosted by the Lund University's School of Industrial Design.

The wooden urns are made to look like small pebbles as Merk tries to reimagine today's burial rituals. Inside rest ashes of the diseased, which funeral-goers may decide to keep with their urns or put back in a larger urn before leaving the ceremony.