New York designer Shaina Garfield redesigned death with a textile coffin- Leaves- which is made from sustainable material such as fungus.
Made with biodegradable materials, this macramé coffin is a beautiful alternative to conventional burial methods, which can be detrimental to the environment. The prime aim of this environmental-friendly coffin is to bring the human body back to nature.
The product has also been showcased at Dutch Design Week, Dubai Design Week, and South Africa's Design Indaba.
Soon after realising that she has Lyme disease, Garfield saw a noteworthy change in her. That was an acknowledgement of the transformation from death into a new life. The design graduate- Garfield found solace in nature when she confronted with the mortality.
She embraced nature and death simultaneously instead of just focussing on her death. In her own words, Garfield said, 'I became so connected to nature and humbled by the Earth's power to heal. I wanted to recreate this beautiful relationship with the Earth for other people.'
LEAVES is designed to make the burial process a much greener ceremony. The designer says that fungus decomposes the body very speedily and thus improves the fertility of the surrounding soil. The process is to wrap the body in natural cotton and secure it with a woven netting of rope, which is treated with a dye and embedded with fungal spores.
The decoration of spores accelerates the decomposition process by increasing fungus growth. The fungus then eats the toxins available in the body so that the essential nitrogen and oxygen go into the soil. Subsequently, a tree can be planted above the burial site to make the optimum use of the nutrient-rich soil. Also, it becomes a symbol of new life.
"At death, our species actively disconnect from nature," said Garfield. "While all other species decay and return to earth, we strive to do the exact opposite." Talking about this sustainable design, she says-"This transforms our definition of a cemetery from a place with loads of dead bodies to a beautiful park full of new life."
Her 'Leaves' is a coffin that lets humans go from death back into life through the Earth, using fungus. The coffin Garfield designed is a physical depiction of not only accepting the death ritual, but it also encourages humans to get back to nature as species. It suggests taking death as a part of life and making the conversation around it.
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