Magazine

Off the wall: Spring 2015

Ashes to branches

Ashes to branches capsula mundi

In our daily lives, we strive to do as much as possible to help create a green, sustainable future. But what about in our death? 

‘Capsula Mundi’, the brainchild of Italian designers Anna Citelli and Raoul Bretzel, aims to allow people to do their bit from beyond the grave. The egg-shaped ‘burial pod’ is made from biodegradable starch plastic, into which the body is placed in a foetal position. 

According to the designers, the pod should be placed into the ground ‘like a seed’, and a tree planted over the pod, which relatives and friends can tend after the death. 

Current Italian burial legislation means Capsula Mundi cannot presently be used in its country of design, but Citelli and Bretzel are striving for the law to be changed so Italians can choose to go green following their death. 

A scoffing matter

Edible coffee cups might sound like a task from The Great British Bake Off, but this is not something that Paul Hollywood or Mary Berry will be judging – unless they take a trip to their local KFC. 

KFC to launch edible coffee cup

This summer, the deep-fried-poultry-based food outlet will be launching the ‘Scoff-ee’ – an edible coffee cup. Created by experimental food purveyors The Robin Collective, it has a biscuit shell with an internal white chocolate coating and a sugar label finish. In theory, hot coffee will slowly melt away the chocolate, softening the cookie cup, which can then be eaten. They will also be infused with scents like coconut sun cream, freshly cut grass, and wild flowers, meant to evoke memories of ‘warm weather, sunshine and summer holidays’. 

All we want to know is: how are we supposed to finish our cappuccinos before our ‘Scoff-ees’ have totally disintegrated? Asbestos mouths may be required. 

Who's bin parking 'ere?

Many of us are familiar with the frustration of returning to a parked car just in time to see a traffic warden slapping a ticket on the windscreen. You plead, beg, implore, insisting: “But I’m only two minutes late!” It is a bitter pill to swallow – especially as it’s your own fault. But who is at fault when a wheelie bin is given a parking ticket? 

Bemused onlookers in Carmarthen earlier this year witnessed a traffic warden fix a penalty charge notice to a wheelie bin. The ticket was issued to the offending ‘vehicle’ after a member of the public pointed out that the bin was blocking a road in the town. 

Carmarthenshire Council has since confirmed that there was no ticket inside the wrapper, insisting that it was a ‘light-hearted incident’. 

This article was taken from Issue 80

We hope it doesn’t signal the start of a trend of trigger-happy traffic wardens, though – nobody is safe! 

Seaweed seat

The myriad health benefits of seaweed are widely known: it is high in nutrients and used increasingly in cooking and beauty products. But two graduates from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts are doing something a little more creative with it. 

Jonas Edvard and Nikolaj Steenfatt have created a range of sustainable furniture using seaweed from the Danish coastline. 

According to Edvard, the idea for ‘The Terroir Project’ began as an investigation into using local materials: “In Denmark, there’s a lot of coastline. Almost everywhere you go, the sea is visible and therefore a big part of the landscape.” 

To create the chairs and lamps, Fucus seaweed is dried, ground down and cooked, transforming it into a hard material, not unlike cork. No glue or special adhesive is used in the making of the furniture – just seaweed and paper. And, no, it’s not at all slimy!