A completely new type of urn is now manufactured in Punkalaidun. The simple and cylindrical Syli urn is made of birch plywood and was designed by Ratia’s Laura Väre, the Young Designer of the Year 2019.
“At the beginning of the design process I thought a lot about what kind of shapes make us feel calm and safe. I find that round, cylindrical shapes fit this description, which is why I also wanted the urn to have this shape. I went through various methods for implementing the final design, and through that process the idea of the birch plywood Syli urn came about,” Laura says.
The material gives the surface of the urn a sophisticated finish. It is reminiscent of a tree trunk and its growth rings, which in turn beautifully reflect a life well lived. As a material, birch is especially well suited for urns, as according to ancient Finnish beliefs birch was given to people to protect them. In ancient mythology, a birch tree’s roots were thought to reach down to the realm of the dead, while its crown extended to the house of the gods above.
“The wooden surface of the urn feels smooth and pleasantly warm in your hand. The edge pattern of the plywood reminds me of the trunks of birch trees, birch forests and the birds that inhabit them. When I look at the urn, I feel like I am closer to nature,” Laura says of the material.
The designer has gathered experience across a wide range of projects, products and materials, and is currently working on ceramic products and lamps, among other things. She feels that designing the urn was different from other projects due to the sensitivity of the subject.
“Death is something each and every one of us has to face eventually, and for most, it is a difficult subject. Losing a loved one evokes strong feelings, and the funeral is our last chance to say goodbye to them. You expect the moment to be beautiful and precious.” For this reason, the appearance of an urn requires special attention.
“It is important to me that the end result is beautiful and timeless, without forgetting the functionality of the object.” The urn also had to meet certain specific requirements, which affected the design process.
The story was first published in SHT-Tukku Oy’s customer magazine in June 2021.