Here’s something you don’t see every day: beautifully crafted wood shelving that can be transformed into a coffin.

Yep, you read that right. An object built to hold your books and tsochkes that’s also built to later hold, umm, you. British designer William Warren’s morbid modern design concept, Shelves for Life, first hit the scene at [Re]Design 06 in London but yesterday the gang over at Inhabitat decided to resurrect it.

If smothered with irony is the way you want to go, than this one’s for you. That said, the custom-made (contact Warren for pricing, etc.) oak veneered plywood Shelves for Life aren’t for everyone. But there is an element of eco-friendliness at play here alongside the smarty-pants “given buried in, instead of with your possessions” subtext: producing a new coffin is extremely energy- and resource-intensive and by being buried in a piece of repurposed furniture you completely avoid the unsustainable getting-buried-in-a-new-coffin thing. Eloquent, I know.

Again, a Shelves for Life system is a custom-made-to-measure piece of furniture that you won’t find at your local funeral home or Home Depot. Not sure if they’d go over well as a gift even though they are certainly something that does keep on giving. Would you be inclined to buy something like this for yourself? Or do you find it all in poor taste?

For more on the eco-impact of funerals and burials, has an interesting arsenal of tips on the topic.

Via [Inhabitat]

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Shelving to die for
Love them or hate them, William Warren's Shelves for Life give the ecobalance phrase cradle-to-grave a whole new meaning.