Mark the last veil by Roos Kuipers


Dutch Design Week: at the Design Academy Eindhoven graduation galleries last week, designer Roos Kuipers presented an open coffin where the dead body is gradually covered in layers of fabric.

Called Mark the Last Veil, the piece is made of elm with rounded corners and slots in the side to accommodate six layers of bamboo, cotton and silk fabric.

The veils would be draped over the corpse one at a time and tucked into the opposite side, gradually obscuring the mourners' view of the body.

Photographs are by Rene van der Hulst.

See all our stories about Dutch Design Week in our special category.

Here's some more information from Kuipers:


Project: Mark the last veil

Description: At a funeral, the closing of the coffin is often a grim moment. A hard, abrupt action that is inappropriate for the sensitive and emotional grieving and mourning process. Roos Kuipers designed an open coffin made of traditional elm, with round, soft forms that softens this moment. Six transparent veils of bamboo, cotton and silk hang from its side. At the moment of leave-taking, the veils are layered over the body one by one, by which the image of the deceased is gradually obscured. By tucking the veils layer by layer into a groove in the wood, the body of the deceased is similarly ‘tucked in’ with loving care and respect.

Posted on Thursday October 29th 2009 at 11:20 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Just in time for HALLOWEEN!

  • Michael

    This is a completely fantastic idea relating to the emotions of a family and their deceased. Families used to prepare the dead themselves through cleansing and embalming. This is a good connection to that practice for modern times.

  • Taylor

    Thoughtful, simple and beautiful. Well done.

  • jason

    Very sensitive and thoughtful way of initiating the process of letting go and saying goodbye. Well done.

  • Agustín

    What does the table look like – to lift it to comfortable tucking-in height? I want to see it in action.

  • aeolus

    Macabre but certainly a splendid ritual compared to current US practice.

  • tom de vrieze

    this is very, very good,
    although it will make emotions stronger,
    but more ‘sensible’, in order to say goodby, …

  • onvn

    GReat idea.. by obscuring the corpse in gradience, there is no sudden disconnection between the deceased and the family and friends left behind and thus making the process a lot more manageable.. I’ve been to quite a few funerals, as most others also have, and I would say the ‘ritual’ of closing the coffin is often the most provocative..

  • meh


  • janna

    this is really beautiful, but – sorry to be so down to earth – it is not practical at all. after a short while, the corpse will need something absorbant underneath…

    a few years ago, another graduation project at the hochschule für gestaltung schwäbisch gmünd had the same topic and a similar result;

    it is not soo visually appealing, it rather takes the practical approach. interesting to compare!

  • This could be an amazing ritual, and even possibly customised to each individual.
    Some might want a cheesy Ed Hardy print, others Chanel, and other yet, D&G hand painted silk.

  • jack the ripper

    very impressive. I ‘ ll book one for me …

  • pooja

    The hindu custom is such.You wash and perfume the deceased, wrap them with a white cloth and offer flowers.and it too is placed on a wooden platform. But then a hindu body is cremated, hence it makes sense.
    That just to say it isnt an ingenious, modern idea.

    But apart from that, to see a silhouette of a person when they are dead is the most eerie thing you can witness. it is not calming nor does it give you a ‘beautiful’ experience.So if this is the alternative to a coffin.. not good.

  • Jinx

    I’ve seen this and met it’s designer at the graduation gallerie last week and was impressed how well thought through it’s design was.
    It’s a nice alternative for the closed coffin, but it clearly won’t be for everyone.

  • Bianca

    Absolutely stunning! I support the idea of saying goodbye to loved ones in different phases. Very original. Hope this type of coffin will give comfort to people who have to say goodbye.

  • fateme

    It is amazing when coffin become beautiful.

  • Do not like it at all, rituals are all gloomy and feel quite naive.Cremation with ashes in the wind back to the source seems more natural. All other appear to me primative, naive, lack of respect in my humble opinion. but I can respect all other point of vues just not for me ;(

  • Concerned Citizen

    Having buried both my parents, as well as other close relatives, by the time of the funeral service, all goodbyes are said. So, it doesn’t provide the “comfort” the designer suggests. However, the design of the wood slab is great.

  • agagnu

    I would not trust the post-activity backstage. I’d prefer a more protected simple box. The wood base is beautiful.