Dezeen Magazine

Selection of KUNOKAIKU stonewareurns

Kunokaiku urns designed to allow "remembering through ritual"

LA-based travel photographer Marianna Jamadi has collaborated with Mexico City-based ceramic practice Menat Studio to create a collection of commemorative urns.

Jamadi wanted the urns to be objects that could fit seamlessly within the modern home after she struggled to find suitable urns for her parents' ashes.

"I noticed a gap in urns that were thoughtfully designed and could be integrated into the home in ways that brought joy, peace and solace," Jamadi told Dezeen.

Selection of KUNOKAIKU urns
The materials and colour palette are influenced by the natural world

The name Kunokaiku combines Kuno, the Indonesian word for ancient, and Kaiku, the Finnish word for echo, in honour of Jamadi's parents.

Jamadi designed the urns to be bespoke, handmade pieces, in contrast to standard mortuary-bought urns that may look misplaced in the contemporary home.

The urns come in three different sizes and can be used as a candle holder, a stackable vase, a sculpture and a box.

KUNOKAIKU urn on shelf
urns are intended to be easily integrated into the home

"We developed three sizes with the idea that people house ashes differently and may want to split them among loved ones," Jamadi explained.

"While they were designed as urns, these can be used as vessels to house objects if you don't have ashes but want to keep things like jewellery and artefacts of someone you miss" she continued.

KUNOKAIKU candle with photograph
The urns are designed to commemorate the loss of a loved one

As a travel photographer, Jamadi witnessed the grieving processes of different cultures, such as the burning ghats of Varanasi, India, and the cremation parades and ceremonies in Bali.

Drawing upon these experiences, she aimed to develop a product that would similarly elicit "remembering through ritual".

"I hope to aid in the grief process by creating tangible objects that you can interact with, thus keeping connection alive with those that are missed," she explained.

Three stoneware urns with flowers and candle
Kunokaiku urns can hold fresh or dried florals

Each stoneware urn was hand-crafted in the Menat Studio workshop in Mexico City using locally sourced raw materials.

Informed by the natural world, a custom matte glaze was used to achieve the desired colour and texture.

The urns were made of high-temperature ceramics fired at over 1,000 degrees Celcius. The production process involves hand pouring, sanding and glazing, which takes between two and three months, depending on the size of the piece.

Raina Lee KUNOKAIKU urn collaboration blue
Kunokaiku is launching a collection with artist Raina Lee

Jamadi has plans to team up with a variety of artists to create special edition urns. She will launch her first limited-edition collection in collaboration with LA-based artist Raina Lee on 6 March.

According to Jamadi, Lee was the first person that came to mind for collaboration due to Lee's "play on glazes, textures, and colours".

Other urns recently featured on Dezeen include Claesson Koivisto Rune's biodegradable burial urn made from wool and RCA students' underwater urns that double as oyster reefs.

The photography is by Marianna Jamadi.