For Dutch design firm Atelier Boelhouwer the relationship between flowers and insects is one of the most fascinating connections found in nature. Says principal designer Matilde Boelhouwer, “Flowers evolved to serve insects and insects evolved to serve flowers simultaneously. Nowadays, however, with all of us living in urban jungles made of concrete and stone, the presence of flowers has become something less natural.”
Boelhouwer has chosen to tackle this problem – making urban environments flower again – because “This lack of flowering has resulted in a drastic insect population decline.” How to stimulate the insect population and help them flourish again led to more questions for the designer, “how can you make a concrete base flower? How do you tell a bee that it can eat something it isn’t used to?”
To answer these questions Boelhouwer developed Insectology: Food for Buzz, a series of artificial ongoing flowering flowers to serve as an emergency food source for the Big 5 of pollination: bees, bumblebees, hoverflies, butterflies and moths.
Together with engineers and scientists, they created five colourful man-made flowers that are self-sustaining and continuously producing natural objects – “that form ultimate attractions to the Big 5”.
How it works: The flowers produce sugar water by catching rainwater. The rainwater is then transported to a tank which contains sugar, where it gets mixed together and then automatically pumped back into small containers.
The containers are adjusted to the length of the tongue of each species. The flower petals communicate the fact that this is actual food and are adjusted to the faceted eyes and shape and colour of preference of the insects.
“To have a big impact these flowers aim to take over all unused empty spots and therefore bringing back the buzzing and fluttering sounds of those small creatures we can’t ever miss in our landscapes.” adds Boelhouwer.
Photos: Matilde Boelhouwer and Janneke van der Pol.
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