Fungus Coffin Doesn’t Preserve Your Corpse. It Decomposes It
There is not much space inside Bob Hendrix’s “living coffins”. But there is a lot of mushroom. Horrific sentences aside, the founder of Delft University of Technology-born company Loop has come up with the Netherlands-based Hendrix, one of the most original startup ideas of 2020: caskets made of mycelium.
The mycelium, the root structure of the mushroom that allows the fungus to grow, becomes a very good building material. Recently, Digital Trends covered another university laboratory that is exploring the use of mycelium to make faux leather, wound dressings, and construction materials. Loop, on the other hand, wants to use it to make living cocoons for the deceased. And, yes, they have already been used for actual funerals.
“The world’s first living coffin doesn’t let humans pollute the soil, but actually enrich it,” Hendrick told Digital Trends. “It comes from a vision that I no longer wanted to work with dead material. We humans take things from nature and kill them. But it makes more sense to work with living materials. Nature provides us with self-healing materials, 3D materials and even composting materials. Mycelium is nature’s largest recycler, which converts dead organic matter into key plant nutrition. I thought, ‘What a great end to life. How can we as humans be a part of it? “”
Hendrickx coffins are grown in molds, each taking seven days to develop into a finished product (if something has expired that actually exists in the natural world). The material is mycelium with the substrate of wood chips. The only energy required for the manufacturing process comes from solar.
“Every coffin is super unique,” he said. He said, “Of course we tried to create some product range in which the products are similar to each other. But, even then, each one will be unique: some are a little too wide or a little too wide. I think that is also its beauty. It has not been industrialized. It is an organism, and we as humans have to accept, that we cannot dominate nature as we have done for so many years. “
Initially, Hendrick said that he was “super scared, like I was a little afraid to talk to people” about the concept. But he found that people proved more open-minded than he thought. “It’s like having a new mindset,” he said. “Death is not death. Death is life Therefore we are called loops. It is a cycle of life, a different phase of your life. It is like a rebirth mentality. “
Interest, he said, has been surprisingly large. “We thought we were safe from mounting 10 coffins,” he said, referring to the original production batch. But they have become more popular than expected. Now, Hendrick said, Loops plans to build about 1,500 coffins per year.