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Burial pods would create ‘sacred forests’

A burial plan devised by two Italian designers aims to change cemeteries from gloomy places full of tombstones to sacred forests.

The Capsula Mundi concept envisages corpses being placed in giant ‘seed pod’ chambers below the ground to nourish a newly planted tree.

The body would be in the foetal position inside a 100% biodegradable starch-based plastic capsule and buried. A tree, pre-selected by the deceased, would be planted above the capsule and the nutrients from the body would help it grow.

In Italy, where coffins can only be of wood, cemeteries are tightly controlled and burial space is only temporary, green burial is illegal. However, designers Anna Citelli and Raoul Bretzel want to create somewhere that children could learn about nature and remember loved ones.

The pair have started to produce Capsula in a small size for ashes, and will continue with scientific and legal research into developing the full body-sized Capsula.

“We wanted to dedicate our work to an important moment, Anna and Raoul say on their website. “Death is a mysterious, delicate and inevitable step. The tree represents the union between the earth and the sky, material and immaterial, body and soul.”

They also point out that a tree takes between 10 and 40 years to grow but a coffin – produced after a tree has been chopped down – last only about three days, adding:“Capsula Mundi saves the life of a tree and plants another.”

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