Would You Be Buried in a Mushroom Death Suit?

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The Future of Cemeteries and Burials

It is pretty rare to come across something that is equal parts, morbid, innovative, and just plain cool.  That is why I have to share some of the winners of the recent Design for Death Competition that was put on by the National Funeral Directors Association.

It is amazing that there are designers out there who are continuing to rethink and reinvent things as fundamental as death and burial practices.  Even just the different categories are kind if mind boggling.  Take, for example, the Eco/Green Deathcare Category.


Grand Prize Winner

The winner was a design entitled Emergence that features a biodegradable coffin that will actually nourish the soil as it decomposes.  While we might not think of cemeteries as being pollutants, traditional burial methods can introduce a lot of chemicals into the soil.  This environmentally friendly design is also aesthetically pleasing.



ecograve2The ultimate vision is that each plot will give rise to a tree that will not only provide a quiet place for visits and meditation, but will also power lights that will illuminate the grave site.  While the photo rendition looks pretty cool, I can’t help but wonder about the effects of light pollution if an entire cemetery was covered in this design.




“i wish to be rain”

One of my other favorites is the third place winner in the same Eco category. The raindeath“i wish to be rain” design features a capsule to hold cremation remains and a balloon that will lift the capsule above the clouds and into the troposphere.  Once the vessel reaches the right altitude, the capsule releases the ashes into the clouds where they become part of the atmosphere’s precipitation and come back down in the form of rain.  How cool would that be?

Mushroom Death Suit

Another interesting and perhaps slightly unsettling design is the Mushroom Death Suit.  The designer, Jae Rhim Lee describes it as “green couture for the modern and futuristic postmortem body.”  Still wonder what the heck it is?

Basically, it is a suit made of organic cotton that is embedded with mushroom spores that will grow and spread across the suit absorbing toxins and “creating a more holistic relationship with nature” as you decompose.  Environmentally, it may provide a great solution, but I mushroomsuitimagine that the more sentimental among us might be turned off by the idea of a Mushroom Death Suit.

Other entries provide new ways to honor and remember the dead, including a “Ritual Skin” that is designed to be worn and physically dissolves as you emotionally move through the different stages of grief.  To learn more about this year’s entries and other innovative designs, visit Design Boom.




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