Skip to main content
Global Innovation Design (MA/MSc)

Aura Elena Murillo Pérez

I'm a Mexican Experience and Emotion Designer with projects developed in Mexico, Copenhagen, Barcelona, Italy, Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, London, and Singapore. My work focuses on the intersection between design, art, and science with a strong focus on reflecting on social topics and human behavior to create and enhance meaning.


ONEROOM Gallery, London (2021) - Assistant Curator

ELISAVA Research, Decoding Well-Being, Barcelona (2019): Research in design and emotions

Normann Copenhagen, Copenhagen (2018) - Design Internship



MA/MSc Global Innovation Design - Royal College of Art and Imperial College London (2020-2022)

Bachelor in Industrial Design - Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (2014-2020)

Academic Exchange - Norwegian University of Science and Technology (2017-2018)




Art Activism Festival (Co-curator) - MAN-NTU and TenSquare Singapore (November 2022)

Private View of the Summer Exhibition - Royal Academy of Arts London (August 2022)

Tide, permanent sculpture - National Science Museum of Thailand, Bangkok

Elemental, temporary sculpture (2022-2026) - National Science Museum of Thailand, Bangkok


YODEX, Taiwan Young Designers’ Exhibition 2022 - “MORTEM” and “Resting Reef”, projects exhibited

MORTEM, A new take on death: Exhibition - ONEROOM Gallery (January 2022)

MAN - NTU Singapore, Curatorial project on death at a 15m long screen (January-February 2022)

DLX, Treasure Hunting - Tokyo Design Lab, Saku

The Future Happened: Designing for the future of music - LADdesign, CCA Design Futures Lab, Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA)

YODEX, Taiwan Young Designers' Exhibition 2021 - "Analogy of a femicide", Project exhibited


Winner of the RCA x IFF project collaboration - Lucidity (2022)

Featured in Dezeen, The Fast Company, Yanko Design, Wallpaper*, Design Week, Marie Claire, and more - Resting Reef (2022)

Bloomberg Legal & Compliance Pro Bono Program - Resting Reef (2022)

The Mayor's Entrepreneur Competition Semifinalists - Resting Reef (2022)

Terra Carta Design Lab Selected Finalists - Resting Reef (2022)

WE Innovate, Imperial Enterprise Lab - Resting Reef (2022)

Show Location: Kensington campus: Darwin Building, Lower ground floor

My work has focused on discovering and understanding some of the "Intangibles" design has and how they can influence positively our life. These intangibles are the emotions and feelings we undergo, the experiences we live, our innate appreciation for beauty, and the meaning-making processes defined by our social semiotics and collective behaviors.

For me, it is important that every project has a balance between rigor and poetic. This way of approaching my projects led me to explore Exhibition Design and Curation as mediums to showcase my work. 

During my Master’s I also started studying death as it is one of the most traumatic events that happen in people’s life. My research developed into my first exhibition and it continues until today with my Major Project Resting Reef.

If you want to know more about my vision in design and why is it important, you can download my dissertation (awarded distinction from the RCA!) here.

Resting Reef is a memorial service and new eco-burial alternative that aims to redefine our approach to death and at the same time, restore marine biodiversity. We do this by offering people the possibility to create a reef structure with their ashes.
The project was a finalist in the Terra Carta Design Lab (initiated by Prince Charles and Sir Jony Ive), and a semi-finalist in the Mayor's Entrepreneur Competition (Sustainability) and the We Innovate accelerator programme from the Enterprise Lab at the Imperial College London.
Oyster ReefsOne of the world's most severely threatened marine habitats is native oyster reefs with 85% of them being lost due to human activities. There are multiple benefits to restoring these reefs including coastal protection, increased biodiversity, clearer water, and carbon storage.
A unique formulaOur bones are made with the same component that is the main fertilizing nutrient in our oceans: phosphorous. On the other side, we have oyster shells as waste from the food industry. If we mix human bone ash with crushed oyster shells, we can create a unique formula that can be 3D printed into oyster reefs, that can then be placed in the ocean floor to boost biodiversity.
Resting Reef's human-centered serviceA holistic and meaningful service to help people plan, face, and cope with the challenges brought by death while reinforcing Resting Reef’s mission to regenerate marine life.
To get to the final proposal, the project followed an overall human-centered design and research-informed design approach with the following phases: Discovery, Definition – Primary Research, and Outcome Ideation and Development. Throughout the process, I approached several experts such as a counselor, a thanatologist, Funeral Directors, and potential future customers from different age ranges.
4 key elementsThe experience flow is designed around 4 elements: A planning ahead online tool, our Blooming Box, a memorial ceremony at Resting Reef's site and a memento for people to take home and come back to it when they think of their loved ones.
Resting Reef's memorial ceremonyOur ceremony is designed to happen at the coast, where the sensorial elements of the waves will guide the process to create a natural, almost-meditative connection with the environment. People will be able to reflect on their loved one that passed away, release messages to the ocean, and celebrate their loved one's life by planting flowers.
MORTEM is a sensorial and intimate exhibition I designed, curated, and produced at ONEROOM Gallery in Shoreditch London. It proposes a new perspective toward death with four different design interventions: Allowing ourselves to feel, Fear of death, Celebrating life, and an exploration of the afterlife, in conversation with art pieces from multidisciplinary artists and designers. Photo by Ahad Mahmood.
Exhibition Identity
In order to create a multisensorial exhibition and experience the topic in unexpected and enriching ways, 4 artists were invited to question their own experiences with death and exhibit their work. MORTEM extended to the audience as an exploration, halfway between personal memory and collective experience with an open exhibition full of emotions, intimacy, and complicity.
Allowing ourselves to feelThis intervention challenges the emotional censorship of death by presenting the benefits of crying and releasing our emotions in 3 interventions together with sculptures from Mae Chan that “introduce the subtle yet powerful emotions of hugs through tactile dynamic forms”. Photos by Marco Da Re and Ahad Mahmood.
Fear of DeathFor the second intervention, 18 participants share their stories and the degree of their fear of death. The different results were presented in glass vases replicating urns with ashes together with testimonials and a sound piece by the media designer Shirui Yang. Photos by Marco Da Re and Ahad Mahmood.
Celebrating lifeIt is true that death hits hard and hurts a lot, and that at that moment, the desire to smile and move on is almost impossible, but death also gives the opportunity to make a retrospect of a person's life, honor the good experiences that happened and be aware of the fortune of being alive. For the exhibition, perfumer Marco Ferraro proposes 2 different scents that represent some of the most important moments of life: hugs and kisses. Photos by Marco Da Re and Ahad Mahmood.
AfterlifeThe work by the artist Pierre Engelhard in collaboration with Nicola Clifton explores the afterlife perspective from Southeast Asia. It represents the path from the underworld, usually represented with water elements, to earth with mandala representations of the cosmos, and finally the achievement to enlightenment. Photo by Marco Da Re.

In parallel with the MORTEM exhibition happening in London, an opportunity to collaborate with the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore to create an audiovisual piece meant the possibility of creating a parallel exhibition in Singapore exploring another perception of death based on the beliefs of the South-Eastern world. Video edited by Pierre Engelhard.
The project was made in collaboration with Pierre Engelhard and Nicola Perikhanyan, and it was exhibited on a screen 15 meters wide by 2 meters high. It explored the path from the underworld, usually represented with water elements, to earth with mandala representations of the cosmos, and finally the achievement to enlightenment. The project was kindly supervised by Ina Conradi and Adeleine Daysor from NTU Singapore.

Exhibited at the DLX space in Tokyo together with the other GID projectsPhoto by Pencil Lin.
A project to visualize and create awareness about domestic violence and femicides in Mexico. Each day 11 women are killed. During the pandemic, 155 women called 911 each hour because of domestic violence. Analogy of a Femicide is the idea of an installation for reflection and awareness that starts with a balloon device that tangibilizes this violence through inflation and deflation cycles and a balloon popped by a needle. The device starts reproducing news as people approach it to reinforce the context.
Video produced and edited by Aura Murillo.
ComponentsThe project was developed by developing code in Arduino and following pneumatic principles. It included around 15 components all inside a transparent acrylic box.
Assembling components into a breadboard to test speaker and valves
Soldering the components for final prototype
InstallationThe broader vision for the project is to create an installation to pique the awareness of people in an immersive way. It is planned to have 11 balloon devices representing the 11 femicides that pop throughout the length of the experience.