Two Italian designers are spearheading a project that proposes 'organic burial pods' instead of traditional coffins.
Design duo Anna Citelli and Raoul Bretzel are the visionaries behind the 'Capsula Mundi' project.
They devised the idea as an alternative to conventional burials in their native country. Instead, they propose burying the dead in an environmentally friendly egg-shaped capsule which will be planted in the ground like a giant seed.
Over time, the capsule will break down and its contents will nourish a sapling planted above it, allowing a tree to blossom.
"A cemetery will no longer be full of tombstones. It will be a sacred forest," the designers state on their website.
The project is still in its early stages and is currently on display at an art gallery in Lille.
Italian law currently prohibits natural burials, but the project will be featured at a TED conference in Turin next month and is expected to spur on a new conversation about how the country views death and the afterlife.
Citelli and Bretzel's innovative egg-shaped caskets will go on sale next month, designed only to hold ashes.
Money raised from the sale of these caskets will be used to fund the research to pioneer the full-sized 'Capsula Mundi'.