Launch Slideshow

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The Final Turn

The Final Turn

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    Chris Burnside

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    Chris Burnside

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    Chris Burnside

Greg Lundgren is on a rather morbid mission: The owner of Seattle’s Lundgren Monuments wants those with style in life to retain it in death, so he has made a business of commissioning contemporary gravestones and memorials made from cast glass, granite, bronze, and stainless steel.

Recently, when looking for something special, he asked local architect Tom Kundig, FAIA, a principal and owner of Olson Kundig Architects—who last year released a collection of steel door pulls, cabinet pulls, and other hardware—to design a funerary urn. (Is this Kundig’s most unusual commission to date? “So far,” he says, “yes.”)

Kundig designed what he calls “The Final Turn,” an 8-inch, 14-pound steel sphere with two halves. (An oil-rubbed bronze version is also available.) The sphere, he says, implies “perfection and eternity.” One side is for 140 cubic inches of ashes and the other for mementos, and the flat faces in between can accommodate inscriptions. The urn retails in limited editions for an estimated $3,300.

When you attempt to twist the halves closed is when you experience Kundig’s resonant moment: They don’t seal flush. In fact, they are deliberately off-kilter. As Kundig says, “The perfect world is no longer perfect for those who remain—something is amiss.”