Bad Taste at the End

Not to launch into morbid subjects, but this is about funerals. After my grandparents and father passed away, my brother, sister and I made arrangements and planned the funerals. The grief issues aside, each time we were faced with choosing really hideous items, from the caskets to the register book and cards.

The caskets all looked like 1970s Mediterranean television sets and the cards were sickening (not in a cool way). Each time we chose the simplest and cheapest casket. Each time the funeral director suggested something more expensive and elaborate. Didn't we love them enough to have the best? He could not understand we wanted simple and didn't want the gilded and mahogany one with puppies on the pillows because they were fugly.

The Shinjuku Rurikoin Byakurengedo is a skyscraper cemetery in Tokyo. Since most people in Japan are cremated, this is an option to house the ashes behind an individual Buddha. The walls are structured with LED changeable lighting. When a visitor swipes a card, the specific Buddha lights up. This could be a remarkable art installation, but serves a purpose so elegantly and simply. How can this exist in Tokyo, but is unable to travel across the Pacific, giving options beyond the media console/brass handle caskets?

TV console and Jonathan Livingston Seagull options

1974 Zenith Mediterranean style television console

Sean Adams

Sean Adams is the Director of the Graphic Design Graduate Program at ArtCenter, founder of Burning Settlers Cabin studio, and on-screen author for lynda.com/Linked In. He is the only two term AIGA national president in AIGA’s 100 year history. In 2014, Adams was awarded the AIGA Medal, the highest honor in the profession. He is an AIGA Fellow, and Aspen Design Fellow. He has been recognized by every major competition and publication including; How, Print, Step, Communication Arts, Graphis, AIGA, The Type Directors Club, The British Art Director’s Club, and the Art Director’s Club. Adams has been exhibited often, including a solo exhibition at The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Adams is an author of multiple magazine columns, and several best-selling books. He has been cited as one of the forty most important people shaping design internationally, and one of the top ten influential designers in the United States. Previously, Adams was a founding partner at AdamsMorioka, whose clients included The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Disney, Mohawk Fine Papers, The Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, Richard Meier & Partners, Sundance, and the University of Southern California.