RESTING REEF, redefine death by taking care of the environment

Resting Reef is a startup created by Louise Skajem and Aura Murillo as part of their Master’s degrees at the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London. It starts from a double analysis that is as interesting as it is disturbing: dying is killing our planet. Just in the US, every year 100 million acres of land are deforested and 1,6 million tons of cement and steel are used to build graves. Not to mention the 20 million liters of toxic embalming fluid that end up into the groundwater. Speaking of water, one of the world’s most severely threatened marine habitats is native oyster reefs with 85% of them being lost due to human activities.


Resting Reef is not only aiming to reduce the negative impacts but generate positive ones. To do this, the startup creates reef-like structures that can nurture and accommodate marine growth while offering an eco-friendly place to rest.

The unique formula contains human ashes and crushed shells from the food waste industry and is then 3d printed into oyster capsules, which shapes are inspired by the first reefs found on our planet, stromatolites. The oyster capsules hold up to 100 oysters and after 3 years they will have captured 2.4 million kg of CO2. One oyster can filter 200 litres of water a day, so every year each structure can filter around 7 million. The designers are also currently collaborating with the colour alchemist Bethany Voak from the textiles programme at the Royal College of Art to develop natural pigments that can be added to the oyster capsules.

For Louise and Aura the project’s aim is not just to renew a polluting industry, but also to try to redefine the way people perceive, interact and face death. In addition to creating urns and memorabilia, the designers’ idea is also to create beautiful local sites with a pier where people would be able to visit their loved ones and witness the progress of the oyster restoration.

Other projects that seek to address this delicate theme are Capsula Mundi by Anna Citelli and Raoul Bretzel, which replaces coffins with seed-shaped urns to generate new forests, and Mourn by Nienke Hoogvliet, which transforms the ashes of the deceased into fertilizer for the ground.

Visit Resting Reef to know more!


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