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// Camille Charmey

Commemorating the deceased


Personalised shrine

An alternative solution that respects tradition, Vivid Altar addresses the problem of overcrowding in cemeteries in Chinese megacities. The cemetery-garden offers families a semi-public place to contemplate their loved ones or a more private area to pause and reflect. The cemetery accommodates personalized shrines kept in the family home which can subsequently be fitted into the hollowed out shapes in totems attached to the shrine. A lamp is lit to symbolize the connection with the earth (the deceased).

“Camille managed to incorporate several issues into her project, including overcrowding in major cities and the phenomenon of virtuality which is increasingly present in China. The country is very connected and smartphones rule. During her research, she identified a collateral question: the density of cemeteries and their remote location far from residential areas, which makes it complicated for families to visit the graves of their deceased. It is a difficult topic to work on because of the cultural barrier and the very personal and private sphere where emotions run high. Burial sites are full of codes and traditions specific to Chinese culture. During her time in the China Studio, she was able to develop research methods and design tools to help her conduct a design project in a new and foreign environment. Camille soon identified the cultural differences thanks to considerable field research and tested her ideas on the local population to come up with an appropriate, modern and innovative response which is respectful of Chinese burial traditions.”

Eric Mazodier, Transcultural Design China Studio Course Leader

This project was selected as part of the International Design Biennale of Saint-Étienne


After completing her Bachelor’s degree in scenography, Camille opted for the Transcultural Design China program in Shanghai (China). After doing internships at Kamaleon, an architecture and scenography agency in Le Mans, then at Debelle de Montby, a global design agency in Shanghai, she designed her final degree project on cemeteries in the Chinese megalopolis.

The experience taught her a lot both intellectually and emotionally, and she implemented a user-based approach which oriented her towards service design. After her final internship, she joined the Nimes-based agency ÉtrangeOrdinaire, specialized in social innovation, user experience and participatory design.

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