The Underground Gallery

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 & designers from Asia, Africa, the Americas, Australasia 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.

After a tedious and lengthy process of evaluation, 12 entries made the final competition short-list – 2 winners and 10 runners-up. A selection of these designs representing a range of creative ideas and artistic styles was turned into actual, functional coffins.

First Prize

Hello Coffin

Hello Coffin

First Prize

Name

Inés Van Gucht

Age

27

Country

Belgium

Hello Coffin

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

An Inspiring Force

Second Prize

Name

Ian Lim Wei Ming

Age

25

Country

Singapore

An Inspiring Force

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. Thank you, Ms Ho! 

Merit Prize

A New Journey With Love

A New Journey With Love

Merit Prize

Name

Jacob

Age

34

Country

Singapore

A New Journey With Love

The idea of this design is how I feel about death and how I envision my transition to another world. I think there will be Life and a new home after death. It’s like starting a new journey in another, more surreal form perhaps. This journey will be blessed with love. That’s why the sides of my coffin are covered with “Love Message” stickers, which allow my loved ones and friends to leave their messages.

With blessings and love, this journey is going to be a wonderful one!

ANKH

ANKH

Merit Prize

Name

Ihdar Nur

Age

27

Country

Indonesia

ANKH

The central image of this coffin is the Ankh. To the ancient Egyptians, this was the Hieroglyphic symbol for Life. Even today it remains an enduring icon, not unlike the Cross of Christianity. It is one of the most potent symbols of ancient Egyptian art, often forming parts of decorative motifs.

The main concept behind this design is the beauty of “Life” after death. Represented on the design is “Anubis” the ancient Egyptian God of the Dead. There are also illustrations of angels on the coffin.

The hieroglyphics used in this design mean: “Life is Beautiful”; “Heaven is Eternal”; and “Ankh is our Life.”

Celebration of My Life

Celebration of My Life

Merit Prize

Name

David Schmidt

Age

25

Country

UK

Celebration of My Life

The religious side of death definitely doesn’t sit well with me but I would like to believe that some conscious part of you continues to have more adventures long past the day the physical “you” ceases to exist. I even take a little comfort in that thought.

Focusing on positives in my life and the direction I’m heading makes me feel content, so fear of death isn’t much of an issue. The purpose of this introspection is to discover what I would choose to represent on my coffin.

Firstly I would like to go out in style. Therein the damask pattern that flows through and combines with the silhouettes. I’ve used blended tones and the pastel colours to create a stylish, rather than garish look. The silhouettes represent important aspects of my life. The iconic buildings from around the world represent my love for travel and especially my hometown London – a city that’s played an important part in my development. The black shadows of trees signify my passion for the nature and my constant return to it.  The other gray spray cans speak of my profession and passion – my art. The profiles of people are a tribute to my family and friends. The whole is wrapped up in the St George Cross found on the flag of England.

The door knockers are a memory from the good old days, when a late friend and I used to get up to mischief in the neighborhood by knocking on doors and running off. Finally the fireworks – a nod to American journalist-author Hunter S. Thompson – who had his ashes shot out of a cannon in celebration of his life.

I am a Happy Little Monster

I am a Happy Little Monster

Merit Prize

Name

Liu Sheng

Age

22

Country

China

I am a Happy Little Monster

I am a happy little monster.

With the colorful little monsters on my coffin, I want to chase away the gray fear of death and bring happiness to everyone!

My Favorite Things in Life

My Favorite Things in Life

Merit Prize

Name

Martin Matera

Age

30

Country

Czech Republic

My Favorite Things in Life

This is my vision of a Happy Coffin. I don’t like sad funerals and I want mine to be a happy one.

This design represents the things I like. The people and pets I love are featured on the buttons. Because I am crazy about music and films, there are signatures and logos of my favorite bands, actors and film directors. There’s also an image of the beer I love the most.

The coffin is to be constructed with material from my favourite denim jeans.

Say hello to my wonderland

Say hello to my wonderland

Merit Prize

Name

Monnapat Eaimboonsiri

Age

24

Country

Thailand

Say hello to my wonderland

Here is a coffin I designed for myself.

It is called, “Say Hello to my Wonderland.”

I believe that when they were children everyone had their own Wonderland. And even when they’ve grown to become adults, the memory of that Wonderland is buried deep in their psyche.

In my coffin design I try to re-create my memory of this Wonderland.

I’ve always loved drawing. I wasn’t good at drawing people so I drew monsters instead. And these monsters have become my very close friends. I hope this design will bring a smile to those I’ve left behind, when I finally occupy my coffin. Because they will know I am happily living in my own Wonderland.

Signed Petition – Plea for Heaven

Signed Petition – Plea for Heaven

Merit Prize

Name

Harun A. Wiranto

Age

45

Country

Indonesia

Signed Petition – Plea for Heaven

My motivation for designing this coffin is the belief that according to all religions, God loves those who help others while they are still on earth. And since we are all going to meet our maker eventually, what better medium than the coffin to prove you’ve been a good person! This design of this coffin features the signatures of the many people – family and friends – you’ve touched.

Starman

Starman

Merit Prize

Name

Neven Udovicic

Age

22

Country

Croatia

Starman

This “Starman” coffin is for Peter - a dear friend of mine and a real-life “Star Man.” Astronomy is his favorite hobby and he loves looking at the night sky with his telescopes.

The coffin I’ve designed for Peter features the night-sky with different constellations of stars and a “human constellation” right on top. This represents the fact that we are all made of the same stuff stars are made of, and after our life here on Earth, we’ll each get our own little place in the sky.

Peter and I have made our own telescopes. I used this idea for the coffin design. I incorporated the blueprints of a telescope construction into the design. The parallel piped shaped coffin (with mirrors inside to bring us the stars) would serve perfectly as a “telescope tube” when erected on a wooden “dobsonian” mount. After years of use for star-gazing the telescope would become every astronomer’s dream – the final resting place for a star gazer.

The Last Feed

The Last Feed

Merit Prize

Name

Romar Capitle

Country

Australia

The Last Feed

This coffin is designed for one of my closest friends.

One of his favourite things to do is eat or as we say “have a feed.”  Using the Last Supper as a reference, I have designed a buffet table-like coffin. The food placed on the table are some of his favourites, including some traditional fare from his native Philippines.

A huge feast like this is usually had when people gather to celebrate a special occasion – the atmosphere is jovial and celebratory, an antidote for the sadness that often follows death.

My friend is always making us laugh, so I’ve shown him trying to grab some food off the table – at his own funeral! An apt reminder of this jolly, food-loving fellow and the times we spent together laughing at his many food-related tales.

Wine Before Death

Wine Before Death

Merit Prize

Name

Aurel Cablan

Age

23

Country

France

Wine Before Death

Life is a pleasant estate with a great bouquet, a lovely colour, a dense, subtly floral nose and deep, lasting flavours in the mouth, with power, refinement and distinction.

A life for laying down, intense, harmonious, distinctive and classy, ample and fruity, with subtle connotations of honey and rose.