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Special bookcase that can be turned into a coffin after owner's death is every bibliophile's dream

Furniture designer William Warner came up with an eco-friendly and sustainable way to carry your life into your after-life.

Special bookcase that can be turned into a coffin after owner's death is every bibliophile's dream
Image Source: William Warren

If you think about all your furniture, you probably think your couch or your bed is the most expensive item you own. Well, if you spent truckloads of money on one of those pieces of furniture, you'll be amazed to know that you're probably going to have to spend a lot more than that on one unlikely resting place: the coffin you'll be laid to rest in. As it turns out, coffins are actually pretty darn expensive. On top of that, they can be rather unsustainable too. In order to combat both these problems, furniture designer William Warren came up with 'Shelves for Life,' a double-duty bookcase that can be converted into a coffin.




"The wood will color, the surfaces will mark and stain, and over the years and the furniture will become a part of you," Warren writes of his invention on his website. "When you die, the shelves can be taken apart and reassembled as a coffin. The brass plate under the bottom shelf, that tells the story about this transformation, is then flipped over and your dates inscribed on it." Yes, this really exists. And if you love books as much as I do, then this is probably a great idea to you. We can do like the Ancient Egyptians once did and take our most prized belongings with us! However, not everyone is too keen on the creation.




The designer explained, "It’s not everyone who sees the charm but some do. People are very pleased when they realize the designs can be downloaded for free." In Japan, especially, people were quite critical of his bookcase coffin. "I offered the design to a Japanese company when I first made it but they really didn’t like the reminder of death," he stated. "Since then, some squeal and some smile." Warren points out, nonetheless, that it's important to think about how you'll go at the end - and where you'll ultimately end up. He said, "If you don’t think about it in advance, you’ll be buried or burnt in a chipboard box with paper that looks like wood and plastic handles that look like brass. Your grieving family will pay Β£400 for this Β£40 piece of rubbish because nobody argues with an undertaker. Better to have something you’ve made, something solid, and something that has lived with you in life and has the stains and scars to prove it."



That actually sounds like a pretty great idea. Warren first exhibited the ingenious and eco-friendly furniture during the 2005 London Design Festival at the British Library. Since then, his invention has made waves across the internet. He believes the bookshelf "will be a visible part of your life and will get coffee stains and burns on it." He added, "So it will mean more when you use it as shelves and it will mean more when you are buried in it." If you're interested in your own 'Shelves for Life,' you can get in touch with Warren and he will send you a free personal design if you send him your measurements. At present, the designer manages a furniture and product design consultancy; is a Senior Lecturer at London Metropolitan University; and also lectures at three other universities and colleges. His design philosophy is rooted in "creating emotional experiences and making us think about our belongings." His designs usually feature "humorous conceptual twists."



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