In 2010, the parlAmore Mourning Button was awarded the Yarden Stimulans, a biennial prize for the most innovative idea concerning funeral and end of life. The jury, consisting of, among others, Manu Keirse (grief expert and professor at the Faculty of Medicine of the KU Leuven) and Jacobine Geel (theologian) praised the design in its report:
‘It’s a well-executed and fully developed idea. parlAmore is an impulse to modernise old traditions. The combination of the universal design with the personal touch is wonderful. The button is very communicative and invites conversation. This project gives a lot of attention to the personal touch and is accessible to a wide audience. It was made with care, attention and respect. A high-quality product.
Helena van Essen on her inspiration
Helena van Essen lives and works in Amsterdam as an artist and designer of funerary monuments. She developed the parlAmore Mourning Button because events in her immediate surroundings made her realise that there is nothing to show that someone is mourning nowadays.
Helena: ‘That thought inspired me to come up with a contemporary mourning symbol that, unlike the familiar mourning band, should be personal and universal. But how? At a certain point, I looked at just a button on just a shirt and, as if by a flash, I suddenly saw: a button, thát’s what I have to use.’
The name: parlAmore
is a contraction of the words parlare and amore, of speaking and love, and therefore means: to let your heart speak. On the one hand, by wearing a tangible memento you feel connected in loving memory to your loved one, and on the other hand, because you show that you mourn someone.
You can also put the emphasis differently and read the motto as “connected in loving memory”, so feel connected with the others who share your grief. Who, wherever they may be in the world, wear, just like you, their parlAmore with a button from that particular one dear to them.
In museum collections
In the Amsterdam Funeral Museum
That the parlAmore Mourning Button is regarded as a successful example of funerary innovation both in and outside the Netherlands is shown by the fact that it has been included in the permanent collection of two funeral museums.
In the Dutch Funeral Museum Tot Zover in Amsterdam, the Mourning Button has been given a place in the display case Mourning and remembrance.
The parlAmore Mourning Button has also attracted attention in Germany. That is why the Museum für Sepulkralkultur in Kassel added it to its collection a few years ago. More information on funeral museums.
My collection of antique mourning buttons
Do you still have Mourning Buttons in your button jar? You can recognise them by the colour black and the fact that they are usually made of git or black glass. But there are also Mourning Buttons made of synthetic materials. The decoration is usually abstract and elegant. At the presentations I give, I show some old and antique Mourning Buttons.
I like to expand my modest collection. Do you have old Mourning Buttons for me? Please send a message to email@example.com