Made from mushroom mycelium, the Living Cocoon designed by Bob Hendrikx, actively contributes to the body's composting process after death and simultaneously removes toxic substances from the earth – creating richer conditions for new plants to grow.
“The Living Cocoon” is composed entirely of mycelium, the thread-like part of the fungi that branches out underground to provide food to the rest of the organism. The decomposed coffins actually contribute to the soil health by neutralizing toxic substances and providing nutrition. Mycelium is “constantly looking for waste materials to convert into nutrients for the environment…For example, mycelium was used in Chernobyl, is utilized in Rotterdam to clean up soil, and some farmers also apply it to make the land healthy again,” Hendrikx says.
This ensures that humans are composted into the most passive way possible in a matter of months and the quality of the environment is enriched, hereby allowing new seedlings to thrive.
"We are currently living in nature's graveyard," he said. "Our behaviour is not only parasitic, it's also short-sighted. We are degrading organisms into dead, polluting materials, but what if we kept them alive?"
Each Living Cocoon is grown and formed in seven days. To make the coffins, Hendrikx and his team mix their preferred type of mycelium with an organic substrate in a mould. The mycelium eats this substrate, creating a three-dimensional structure that grows to fill the shape of the mould it is in.
"We want to know exactly what contribution it makes to the soil as this will help us to convince local municipalities in the future to transform polluted areas into healthy woodland, using our bodies as nutrients," said Hendrikx.