William Warren

London based product and furniture designer

Shelves for Life

These shelves are designed to last you a lifetime. The wood will colour, the surfaces will mark and stain and over the years and the furniture will become a part of you.

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 you’re dates inscribed on it.

The shelves were first launched at the British Library during the 2005 London Design Festival.

Please email me if you would like the measurements and instructions to build your own shelves. You will need to include your height and build. I’d like to see your homemade versions please so email me the images if you’ve made any already.

119 Responses to “Shelves for Life”

  1. Ed Wilson says:

    Brilliant. Please send measurements and instructions for building. Height 5’10” Weight (209 pound = 1.87 hundredweight [long, UK]) or (209 pound = 14.93 stone) – Thank you

  2. Michelle Miller says:

    I have shared the site with several friends. Who would have known someone could be so inventive! Please send instructions for 6 feet height, and average build (around 200lbs). Thank you for offering the instructions.

  3. […] it is constructed of wood and designed by William Warren to weather and age with you, it might be a good idea to take care of this bookcase while you are […]

  4. […] it is constructed of wood and designed by William Warren to weather and age with you, it might be a good idea to take care of this bookcase while you are […]

  5. […] но и после. Дизайн с каплей черного юмора разработал William Warren.  После смерти, родственники умершего смогут просто […]

  6. […] После кончины Ваши близкие своими руками разберут этот шкаф и соберут гроб. Идея “зеленого” дизайна, доведенная до абсурда. Этот концепт был представлен в Лондоне на London Design Festival, автор – дизайнер William Warren. […]

  7. William says:

    This is a version in English by Google Translator:
    After the death of your loved ones with their own hands will disassemble this cabinet and lay the coffin. The idea of “green” design, carried to the absurd. This concept was presented in London at the London Design Festival, the author – designer
    I like this translation. It calls me absurd and assumes we will die at the hands of our loved ones.

  8. Sven says:

    This is a great idea!
    Would you send me the instructions as well? I’m 6 feet tall and my weight is average, I suppose.

  9. […] Burada “Kullanma Kılavuzu” ve Tasarımcının Sayfası […]

  10. Maggie says:

    please send me the instructions for my husband – he loves playing with bits of wood and will get a real kick out of this – his height is 5’8″ and he is of average build )approx 12st.


  11. Jonathan Taylor says:

    What an excellent public service! Please will you send me instructions to build my final resting case; I’m 5’10” (1.75m) tall, about 11 stone (70kg), average build for my height and weight. Thank you.

  12. William says:

    Google translate says: “Would you like to have coffins that you use your library for years?”

  13. Mark Trask says:

    I would love to build one of these. I am 5′ 10″ and weight of 200.
    Thank you.

  14. William says:

    Thanks Mark, I’ll get the drawings out to you soon. W

  15. nicole chenoweth says:

    I would love to build one of these. I am 5′ 5″ and weight of 135.

  16. nicole chenoweth says:

    Would you send me the instructions as well? I’m 5 foot 5 feet tall and my weight is average, I suppose.

  17. Cheryl Oberlitner says:

    I would be interested in building these for my husband and myself. Nothing like it that I have seen.
    I am 5’2″ and 160# and shoulder width of 20″. My husband is 5’11”, 160 lbs. and 22″ shoulder width.
    Thank you,


  18. […] http://www.williamwarren.co.uk/2009/10/shelves-for-life/ Ваш комментарий будет первым. […]

  19. James says:

    Hi William,

    Great design!….Love both the look and functionality the bookshelf. I am really interested in building one.

    i am 6ft and weigh 85kgs.

    If you could send me build instructions i would be happy to send detailed photos once constructed.

  20. julien says:

    I work in a funeral home in France and I just discovered this? it’s amazing ! I know it wouldn’t be allowed here, but funny funeral things are really to be seen in the UK !

  21. Anne says:

    Dear William
    Since the death of my mother, I’ve become increasingly concerned that when I fall off my perch, it won’t be into an MDF box which has been given the name of a castle. Your shelf coffin is quite beautiful in its sleekness, and I know that it’s exactly where I want to spend my days of decomposition. Also, my cookery books are homeless, and they’d look smart in there. Please could you send me instructions? I’m 5’1″ and medium build. Thank you in anticipation.

  22. bill says:

    very appealing !
    would like plans for a 100kg – 5ft 8ins bod !! (good looking !!!)
    thanks and cheers

  23. Annabel says:


    I would like to make your shelves, I think they’re wonderful.
    I work for a sustainable living charity, http://www.afsl.org.uk I know our newsletter subscribers would like to see this.

    I am 5foot9inches and 10stone7pounds

    Thank you


  24. Mike Kelly says:

    Would you send me Coffin Shelf Plans for 1.85 meters/88kg.



  25. Laura Haberlin says:

    My daughter and I would like to make your shelves, what a great idea. I’m 5’6″ 72kg and she is 5’4″ 63kg.
    Warm regards

  26. Cheryl Oberlitner says:

    I requested a pattern for the shelves and did not get it yet.

  27. Jo says:

    And thank you for your offering as my husband and I do not plan on spending what little we have to bury each other expensively. We also like the idea of making a pair together. I am 5’5″ and he is 6’4″. We appreciate this very much. Sincerely, Wayne and Jo

  28. Jo says:

    Blast, forgot “the build”: 5’5″, 188lbs & 6’4″, 250lbs. Thanks again! Jo

  29. Kate says:

    I’d love instructions for somebody 5 foot 4 and average build please! Thanks so much for making this available!

  30. George Murray says:

    I’ve been looking at vehicles acting as motorcars before finally being used as coffins, but your idea is so much better! A nice homely addition until not required vertically any more. I’d love to have instructions for building one — I’m 1,85 metres weighing 80 kg.

    Many thanks

    George Murray

  31. Gela says:

    I am interested in building one of these. I am 1,70 meters and 85kg.
    Thank You. And thank you for this great idea.

  32. Military Momma says:

    Good afternoon! I wood love to have a set of plans for myself. I am a book lover and woodworker and to combine my two great passions and help my family in the end know my final wishes would be wonderful. I am 5′ 7″ 195lbs. Thank you for your gift of this beautiful and multi-functional work of art.

  33. Dear William Warren,
    Please send me the plans for the Shelves for Life. I am 6 foot tall and weigh about 210 lbs. Great idea. What do I owe you for the plans?

    Thank You,
    Tom Carpenter
    Carrollton, MO

  34. Margaret Huxley says:

    What a fantastic service please send plans 5’10 and chunky ( 13 stone )
    Margi Huxley

  35. […] Bauplan kostenlos zur Verfügung – er bittet aber um ein Foto des fertigen Stücks. http://www.williamwarren.co.uk Veröffentlicht in BiblioPhilia | Schlagworte: […]

  36. Dale Baker says:

    How ingenious!!!! Please share instructions for Shelves for Life. Measurements 6’5″, 240lbs. I trust they come in petite sizes.


  37. Rhiakath says:

    Would love a copy of the plans .. this would make a great addition to my shelves .. Am 165lbs .. 5feet 10inches .. Athletic build .. Thank you!!!


  38. Ember says:

    Love this idea. Beautiful at the beginning of it’s useful life, and at the end. Please send me plans. I am 5’7″ and 195#. Thank you!

  39. Jan Catsburg says:

    I would like to make this coffin for a friend who’s having cancer.
    The length of the coffin must be around 200cm. He’s an average person.
    Could you please send me the measurements in the metrical system. If you only have them in inches it’s ok too.


  40. Carolyn says:

    Fantastic idea. Please send plans for someone who is 5’6″ and 147lb. Thanks

  41. brigitt says:

    What a great idea! My neighbour works as a funeral director and I think, he had never seen anything like this coffin! Please send measurements and instructions for building.
    1,73 m and 85 kg. Thanks!

  42. Steve Wraight says:

    Please send building instructions. I am 6ft 6ins and 15 stone. Thanks. Steve.

  43. Dana says:

    Most dual functional thing I have ever seen. Is it possible to get the plans for a 6 foot, 210 lb person? Thanks.

  44. Justus says:

    Oh! I am simply in love with your bookshelf!! My husband and I are in the process of creating a library for all of my books (hundreds upon hundreds and counting because I cannot seem to stop myself from indulging in more stories), and I would love to have these shelves in our home. Is it possible to get measurements for two people? My measurements: 5’11” & 145lbs. My husband: 5’9″ & 205lbs.

    Thank you so much for sharing such an incredibly creative and beautiful project with us!!

  45. Cleiton Reichwald says:

    Olá, gostaria do modo de construção para mim, que tenho 1,60 cm de altura.

    Muito obrigado.

  46. Woodman says:

    Please send me measurements & info. on this, it’s simply brilliant! 5’9″ & 190#.
    Thank you…

  47. […] Warren designed a set of shelves that can be converted into a coffin when you need one. It comes with instructions for conversion […]

  48. David says:

    I am in! Well not right now, but sooner or later. I’d like to have build information for a 6’1″ at 180 lbs. Thank you.

  49. Teresa says:

    could you kindly provide me with the measurements for the “shelves for life” With the growing cost of funerals these days, I would like to make one so that my children are not burdened with the funeral fees. Much appreciated,

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