The Gravestone Award of the Canton of Basel-Stadt in Switzerland aims to move the bereaved away from mass-produced gravestones

Artist: Daniel Caprez, Riehen. Jury's verdict: With a playfulness of design, the stele made of hard Poschiavo serpentine, which is inviting to look at from all sides, is surprising. The work is an uninhibited link to the formal language of the 1960s and 1970s and is nevertheless, or perhaps precisely because of this, contemporary even today.

The award was presented for the 25th time in 2020 and honors individual designs by Swiss artists

For the 25th time, the Gravestone Commission of the Canton of Basel-Stadt, Switzerland has awarded prizes for exceptional gravestone ideas. Prizes were awarded for 8 works by 7 sculptors. The prize money is 500 Swiss francs per winner, plus a certificate. In addition, the work is presented in a brochure entitled “Exemplary Gravestones“.

For the award, the jury of 3 members of the cemetery commission and an external artist had inspected 384 gravestones of people who died in 2018 at the Hörnli cemetery. This is the largest cemetery in Switzerland. Both gravesites for burials in the ground and urn graves were assessed.

The award is also explicitly aimed at the bereaved families as the clients and emphasizes that they should have a high quality in mind when it comes to the gravestones. They “make a contribution to the overall design of the Hörnli cemetery and thus shape the gravestone culture of the future, “ according to a press release.

Normally, the award ceremony takes place as part of a public celebration. Because of the Covid 19 pandemic, the certificates were sent by mail this year.

The brochure in German can be downloaded free of charge.

Photos: Lukas Gysin, Basel

Bildhauerei Weisskopf, Basel. Jury's verdict: The standing gravestone made of Comblanchien Limestone tapers skyward in elegant lines. Differently worked surfaces unite as a relief to a calm overall picture.Bildhauerei Weisskopf, Basel. Jury’s verdict: The standing gravestone made of Comblanchien Limestone tapers skyward in elegant lines. Differently worked surfaces unite as a relief to a calm overall picture.

Bildhauerei Weisskopf, Basel. Jury's verdict: The round disc in the base made of colored Turkish Lilac Marble shows itself quarry rough, naturally hewn on the side and on the surface. The shape is resolved into a spiral, like yin and yang. The gravestone is reminiscent of a snail shell, finds its natural place in the green meadow and yet makes itself noticeable.Bildhauerei Weisskopf, Basel. Jury’s verdict: The round disc in the base made of colored Turkish Lilac Marble shows itself quarry rough, naturally hewn on the side and on the surface. The shape is resolved into a spiral, like yin and yang. The gravestone is reminiscent of a snail shell, finds its natural place in the green meadow and yet makes itself noticeable.

Philipp Baur, Basel. Jury's verdict: A rustic, slatted front surface of Liesberg Jura Limestone with a joint-like opening stands on a somewhat smaller base. Walking around the stone, the precision of the rounding becomes clear.Philipp Baur, Basel. Jury’s verdict: A rustic, slatted front surface of Liesberg Jura Limestone with a joint-like opening stands on a somewhat smaller base. Walking around the stone, the precision of the rounding becomes clear.

Philipp Käppeli, Oberwil. Jury's verdict: The gravestone made of local Hospentaler Serpentine convinces not only by its craftsmanship but also by its form. The relief itself gives the grave marker an exciting sculptural character.Philipp Käppeli, Oberwil. Jury’s verdict: The gravestone made of local Hospentaler Serpentine convinces not only by its craftsmanship but also by its form. The relief itself gives the grave marker an exciting sculptural character.

A. Rossi, Allschwil. Jury verdict: Two square openings touching at juxtaposed corners provide a view of a sphere that seems to rest inside the stone. In these A. Rossi, Allschwil. Jury verdict: Two square openings touching at juxtaposed corners provide a view of a sphere that seems to rest inside the stone. In these “windows” the light-colored Comblanchien Limestone is perforated and makes the spherical shape perceptible. It contrasts with the diagonally hatched surface of the tombstone.

Esther Horat, Lukas Borer, Basel. Jury verdict: A simple, square recumbent stone made of Liesberg Limestone covers the gravesite and at the same time creates a connection to the surrounding nature. The precisely carved out opening provides space for the vegetation so that the gravestone can grow together with its surroundings.Esther Horat, Lukas Borer, Basel. Jury verdict: A simple, square recumbent stone made of Liesberg Limestone covers the gravesite and at the same time creates a connection to the surrounding nature. The precisely carved out opening provides space for the vegetation so that the gravestone can grow together with its surroundings.

David Müller carpentry, Falera. Jury verdict: A wooden gravestone is constantly changing, reminding us of our own transience. The sculpture, which is complemented by a discreet recumbent inscription plate made of limestone, is carved out of an oak trunk. The shape is reminiscent of an egg - or is it a bud breaking open, symbolizing a new beginning?David Müller carpentry, Falera. Jury verdict: A wooden gravestone is constantly changing, reminding us of our own transience. The sculpture, which is complemented by a discreet recumbent inscription plate made of limestone, is carved out of an oak trunk. The shape is reminiscent of an egg – or is it a bud breaking open, symbolizing a new beginning?

(21.05.2021, USA: 05.21.2021)