What different nesting boxes do particular species of birds, hedgehogs and insects need in the modern city? A project titled The City and The Forest presented at Museumspace Seltjarnarnes, a seafront gallery space in Reykjavik, during Design March from 10-13 March 2016 sought to respond to this question. Organised by Wilk Open Cluster of Design in Warsaw, the project was curated by Ewa Solarz who invited eight Polish design studios to propose a box for a specific creature.
Observing how a pair of swifts were nesting on the wall of building next to their workshop, Beza Projekt – founded by Anna Loskiewicz and Zofia Strumillo-Sukiennik – came up with a nesting booth for swifts that could be attached to the building's facade. “We can see the wall from our windows and we really hope that the swifts will be returning here,” say the designers.
Both Beton (Marta and Lech Rowinski) and Malafor (Agata Kulik-Pomorska and Pawel Pomorski) designed boxes for sparrows. The first design loosely resembles an old-fashioned living room clock while the latter is a more modern, rounded solution.
A strikingly contemporary design is the pale blue nesting box for passerines by Menthol (Liliana Krzycka and Rafal Pieszko). This is the second nesting box by Menthol following a breeding tower for swifts in Poland. “We wanted to refresh the image of the typical nesting boxes for passerines and draw attention to the problem of decreasing population of the birds in the city,” say Menthol.
Dingflux, an agency set up by Asia Piaścik, designed a “hotel” for “wild pollinators”. It's a small, yellow, triangular structure with wooden rows that have entry holes for bees. Meanwhile, Grynasz Studio designed a circular hedgehog box that can be placed in a garden to serve as a breeding home and winter shelter. And Kosmos Project, a studio set up by Ewa Bochen and Maciej Jelski, made a home for bats, which has a black, enclosed space above a wooden part.
What emerges is how, as the natural habitats of birds, insects and hedgehogs are increasingly threatened, designers can contribute towards helping to create urban dwellings.