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Mycelium coffins (coffin from mushroom)

Designer Bob Hendrikx proposed his vision of ecological ritual devices: his coffin, created from mycelium, completely disintegrates in the ground in a couple of years, unlike traditional wood and velvet-covered ones, which take more than ten years to decompose.

This facility is an environmentally friendly alternative that enriches the soil. “Living Cocoon” (Living Cocoon – this is the name of the model), consists entirely of mycelium – the filamentous part of mushrooms, which branches underground to feed the mycelium. Decomposed “mushroom” coffins in this way, instead of clogging, contribute to the improvement of the soil, neutralizing toxic substances and providing recharge. Mycelium has a special property: it is constantly looking for waste to be converted into nutrients for the environment.

The designer talks about his concept: “For example, mycelium was even used to clean up the Chornobyl zone. It is also used in Rotterdam to clean the soil, and some farmers use it to restore the nutritional properties of the land. Now, in fact, we live in a natural cemetery: human behavior is not only parasitic but also short-sighted. We are turning nature into a dead environment, but maybe it is worth keeping it alive?”

Created without the aid of light, heat, or any source of active energy, coffins are grown in one week by mixing a mycelium strain and a specific substrate, and then placing the combination into a mould. The fungi then absorb another substance and form a box-like structure. Studies by two funeral cooperatives, CUVO and De Laatste Eer, already show that Living Cocoon decomposes in the soil within 30 to 45 days, and the object has already been used in burials in recent weeks.

This is not Hendrix’s first time working with mycelium: last year he created a similar capsule for DDW (Dutch Design Week), which prompted him to a more global idea. He is currently working on creating light-emitting spores that could indicate where a body is buried.

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