Magazine article Geographical

Ashes to Ashes: For More Ten Years, an Italian Design Team Has Been Trying to Change How We Will Spend Eternity

Magazine article Geographical

Ashes to Ashes: For More Ten Years, an Italian Design Team Has Been Trying to Change How We Will Spend Eternity

Article excerpt

Despite an active consumer society, coffins are one object that people in the West rarely spend much time choosing. It's not the same the world over, some Ghanaians are buried in 'fantasy coffins' that resemble cars, aircraft and even pianos. What Ghanaians choose in death reflects their professions or interests in life.

Italian designers Anna Citelli and Raoul Bretzel hope to change the Western way of death with a coffin known as Capsula Mundi that allows a decomposing body to provide nutrients to a tree. Encased in a seed-like pod, the corpse is curled into a foetal position and planted beneath the deceased's favourite species of tree (location permitting).

'As designers we have asked ourselves what is our role in front of a society distant from nature, satisfied and overloaded with objects,' say the Italian pair.

Their aim is to create 'memory parks' as an alternative to traditional cemeteries, although Italian laws currently make the Capsula Mundi illegal.

England is running out of burial space, according to the University of York's Cemetery Research Group. Reusing graves is a possible solution, as are woodland burials. …

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