New funeral equipment for Jølstad Funeral Agency

Product Design

Challenging the mindset, by introducing tradition

  • In cooperation with Jølstad Funeral Agency, Norway.
  • Co-designers: Ellen Rykkelid, Jane Pernille Hansen and Marius Presterud
  • Tutors: Tom Vavik and Odd Borgar Jølstad
  • Duration: August 2011 – November 2011.
  • Award: The Jølstad Award (20.000,- NOK)


This projects is currently being manufactured and distributed. The first public appearance of the product line were at the funeral of the norwegian war hero Gunnar Sønsteby. The funeral war broadcasted nation wide, and was attended by members of the norwegian government, and HRH King Harald of Norway.

The project was also featured in the AHO 2011/2012 Yearbook.

The focus of the project was ergonomics, aesthetics, and functionality. The main focus for us was to keep in mind the undertakers we were designing with.  We spent a lot of time trying to understand how their everyday life was like, and how we could enhance theirs job-performance. And yet keeping in mind that a funeral is a one time thing for the people attending it.

“If your jeans tear, you will just go out and buy another pair. But you won’t get another chance for a funeral.”

We saw the old equipment they used as highly unfunctional. The equipment was old, outdated and required many man hours of maintenance every week! The undertakers did have to wear a set of cotton gloves at all times, not to get smudges on the equipment.

All this problems we managed to solve, using wood instead of brass, light weight, easy to move, endures a lot and sets the casket and the diseased in focus. The clean lines, and calm tone in combination with the use of wood and metal, expresses a true norwegian heritage. Below there are a few shots from the process in the workshops at AHO. The model was constructed in american walnut  and steel, but the finished design would preferably be in american walnut and aluminum, with a soft, neutral anodized tone.