The concept of death has always been considered as sad and unfortunate. However, almost every culture, community and religion on this planet assumes (and accepts) the concept of a realm to which the dead transcend to. Could our perception of death be changed then, simply by reinventing one object, the coffin?
Designers Anna Citelli and Raoul Bretzel have invented a novel, beautiful, as well as eco-friendly method that has revolutionised the idea of death– not as the end of life, but as the beginning of a return path in the biological cycle of life.
Also Read: Will Google Cure Death?
Fuelled by their love for trees, and in the attempt to reform the worldwide perception of death, Anna Citelli and Raoul Bretzel of Rome, Italy, first presented their concept ‘Capsula Mundi’ at the international furniture fair Salone del Mobile in Milan, 2003. Since then, the concept has garnered major support from people all over the world.
Capsula Mundi makes use of an egg-shaped pod (a Capsula) made of biodegradable material (such as starch plastic and seasonal plant starch) that would be buried as a seed in the ground. On top of the pod would be placed a small plant, chosen by the deceased, while still alive. The human body is an amazing source of nutrients, and so, would help the plant grow into a tree. There are two types of pods available for this: a smaller Capsula for ashes only, and a larger Capsula in which the entire body would be placed in the foetal position. Over time, the pod would degrade naturally in the soil and the ashes or decomposing body would aid the plant in its growth.
A burial ground similar to a cemetery would have eventually formed. Except, this cemetery would be like no other. It would be a lush green ‘memory forest’ as opposed to a dull, grey cemetery full of tombs and tombstones. The family and friends of the deceased would be able to watch them grow and flourish while still caring for them, rather than be depressed and wonder about rebirth or an afterlife.
Also, while it takes 10 to 40 years for a tree to grow, it is eventually cut down and the coffin made would only be useful for 2-3 days. This situation is thus an eco-friendly one that would inadvertently promote afforestation and secure the future of our planet.
Work in Progress…
Related: The War Against Ageing
While the idea of Capsula Mundi is ideal in many respects, the Italian Law prohibits the burial of a person in this manner. And so, as of early 2015, the Capsula Mundi project was still in an ‘if’ phase, rather than a ‘when’ phase.
In November 2015, the designers with supporters from all over the world finally got the go-ahead for the project! And Capsula Mundi is finally ready to be launched some time this year. You could check out their official website for more information as well, at: www.capsulamundi.it