Photos via Dark Rye magazine
If there's one kind of design that no one enjoys, it's coffin design. However morbid it may be, it's completely true. Austin-based furniture designer Michael Yates quickly learned this after being faced with a tough request. His aging grandmother—who was perfectly healthy at the time—wanted him to build her casket. Such a request from a lively friend or family member is enough to throw anyone off. Yates, who was also a professional notable in our 2013 Core77 Design Awards, eventually agreed after taking some time to mull over and come to terms with the inquiry.
The impending death of a family member or friend is nothing anyone wants to think about—let alone obsess over in the way a designer engrosses themselves in a project. In a tear-jerking mini documentary from Dark Rye magazine, Yates battles with the idea of death and its role among the functionality and customization of design—and he manages to do so gracefully, if that's even possible.
Check it out:
It's an unconventional and extremely personal way to take a look at a genre of product design that's considered a bit taboo. There's no question that Yates' design is beautiful for far more reasons than its concrete features and acted as a tool to bring him closer to his grandmother. From the revitalized church pews to the painted initial, Yates' creation is truly a labor of love—and that's a kind of design that can be understood and appreciated by all.
Yates' collection of wood dust
Do you have a personal connection like this to one of your designs? Share in the comments.