Now you really can be a tree… when you’re six feet under. It might not seem so, but two Italian designers are being ‘dead’ serious about their idea of a perfect eco-friendly circle of life.
Anna Citelli and Raoul Bretzel have created a biodegradable burial pod that transforms your earthly remains into a tree through natural decomposition. As traditional burials practices leach toxic chemicals from the embalming process into the air and cremation releases noxious chemicals into the atmosphere, the pair designed Capsula Mundi ‘death pods’ to provide an afterlife of eco-consciousness – even when you are unconscious.
Made of biodegradable natural starch plastic, the potato-shaped pods are buried as a seed in the earth. Over time, they break down and feed the beech or birch tree planted on top. Whether buried in the foetal position, or interred as ash, the microbes and nutrients from the departed within feed the new organism.
“Capsula Mundi envisions a different approach to the way we think about death,” explains the site. “A tree, chosen in life by the deceased, will be planted on top of it and serve as a memorial for the departed and as a legacy for posterity and the future of our planet. Cemeteries will acquire a new look and, instead of the cold grey landscape we see today, they will grow into vibrant woodlands.”
‘Natural’ burials are currently illegal in Italy – where coffins can only be made out of wood and tin, and must be buried in a protected, controlled and closed area. However, the two designers are currently trying to change this law. They plan to memorialise eco-pods in a ‘natural burial site’, which will eventually become a forest – growing trees, instead of tombstones.
This video breaks down how you do:
Raoul Bretzel and Anna Citelli