What is the role of designers when it comes to death? Should they deal with needs and rituals for a more sustainable and meaningful approach to death? We started asking these questions when visiting the Broken Nature exhibition at the Triennale in Milano, where we came across a project dealing with the redesign of death: Capsula Mundi by Anna Citelli and Raoul Bretzel. 


Capsula Mundi is an egg-shaped pod made of biodegradable material, where our departed loved ones are placed for burial. The pod will be buried like a seed, and a tree will be planted on top of it. Trees would be chosen in life by the deceased and serve as a memorial and a legacy for our planet’s future. Family and friends will continue to care for the tree as it grows, and cemeteries will no longer look like a cold grey landscape. Instead, they will grow into vibrant and sacred forests where communities will come together to care for nature.


Capsula Mundi project explores how our culture focuses on youth and deals with death as a taboo. The project wants to communicate that our passage is not the end but the beginning of our way back to nature. Inspired by these ideas, Anna and Raoul have decided to redesign the coffin – an object entirely left out of the design world, using ecological materials and laic and universal life symbols, such as the egg and the tree. Capsula Mundi emphasises that we are a part of nature’s cycle of transformation, and this universal concept goes beyond cultural and religious traditions.


Coffins slow down the decomposition process, littering the Earth and even the planet’s water table. Capsula Mundi urns, instead, are made from biodegradable material and come from seasonal plants. Besides, to build a coffin, a tree must be cut down. While coffins are used for 3 days, trees take between 10 and 40 years to reach maturity. Capsula Mundi designers “want to plant trees instead of cutting them down”. 

Shall we turn cemeteries into forests? What are your thoughts? Share with us!⁣

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