New urban birdboxes and beehives designed

Consultancy 51% Studios has won a competition to design new urban beehives and bird boxes.

Habi Sabi designs

Source: Billy Sinclair/51% Studios

Habi Sabi designs

51% Studios developed the Habi Sabi concept of easy-to-assemble flatpack beehives, bird-boxes and planters, made from leftover linings and fibres from cars, fridges and insulation.

Catherine du Toit, partner at 51% Studios, says, ‘We named the design after the Japanese concept of “Wabi Sabi”, which finds beauty in nature and simplicity.

‘We went right to the heart of the challenge and consulted both ornithologists and ecologists to get a feel of what the city landscape would look like to wildlife.

‘Realising that the city appears very like a mountain to a bird, but without the rich habitat, we haven’t just made nestboxes and planters to provide nectar and seeds but also included a tiny pool and tray of gravel offering water and habitats for invertebrates.’

Swift box

Source: Billy Sinclair/51% Studios

Swift box

The competition was run by the Architecture Foundation on behalf of Inmidtown, the business improvement district for central London that covers the areas of Holborn, Bloomsbury and St Giles.

51% Studios saw off shortlisted designs from Jon Akers Coyle and Growth Industry Ltd, which developed the b House, the Batwing and the Metropolitan Planter, and Archmongers and Buchanan Partnership, which designed the Bee Lifts, which feature folding arms to hoist beehives into the air.

51% Studios’ designs will now be produced by Inmidtown and installed into 570 locations in central London this summer.

Initially there will be 20 hives, 30-50 planters and several hundred bird and bat-boxes installed.

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