Dutch designers are claiming a world with a funeral pyre, in which the dead man was buried in a moss-filled coffin made of muscelium: an underground fungal network of mushrooms.
The living cocoon was developed by Bob Hendricks, together with researchers from Delft University of Technology and the Naturalis Natural History Museum, and has already been included in the coffin collection offered by two Dutch funeral companies.
“The Living Cocoon enables people to be reunited with nature and pollute the soil,” says Hendrickx. “After months of development, it was a truly impressive moment to be able to mark one’s passing in this extraordinary way.” ”
The speed with which a body produces manure depends on different conditions but it may take more than a decade. Varnishes and metal parts of a coffin, as well as synthetic fabrics, can continue for a long time.
Hendrikax hopes that the mycelium coffin will be able to complete this entire process in two to three years, as it actively contributes to the process of composting. Not only are the waste products from the human body converted into nutrients, but the quality of the surrounding soil also improves, giving it new life and an opportunity to flourish.
The production process takes several weeks and the mycelium is grown to the size of a coffin and then dried naturally, inhibiting its growth. Once it has been in contact with ground water for some time, the mycelium begins to revive when the process of composting begins.
The coffins themselves are lightweight but can carry up to 200 kg in weight. The first 10 have now become ‘big’, and the company hopes to be able to expand overseas in the near future.
While the Dutch coffin may be the first one, in 2015, California designer Jae Ryme Lee developed a suit with mushroom spores to speed decomposition and neutralize the release toxins of the human body.
Actor Luke Perry was reportedly buried in a ‘mushroom death suit’ when he died after suffering a heart attack last year.
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