Bee Spa: Flowerpot to help Preserve Bees and Encourage them to do Pollination
Climate change is an important factor why bee’s population are decreasing dramatically, this project was developed through a desk research mainly, with the objective improve the world over an efficient, original and functional product. A design thinking methodology was applied aiming to fulfil a social need with a feasible technology in the creation of a product. Info was collected, analysed synthesised, then the problem was defined and a concept was developed evaluated corrected and reformulated to end up with a valued proposal.
The methodology used has allowed me to keep on experimenting and modifying the product in order to bring a better experience to the user and a better impact to the environment.
About the research:
For this project it was decided to use Secondary or desk research mainly, and combine it a little with a generative research methodology where the goals will be mixed with the necessities detected from the user (bees), customer (society) and the environment evaluating the feasibility of the proposal in order to be produced with the technology and resources available.
Figure 1Research diagram, icons taken from https://www.flaticon.com/authors/freepik
About bees and environment
According to the Reports From The 2019 International Pollinator Conference At UC Davis Some wild flowers have been ‘greening up’ half a day earlier for about 20 years.
The biological oceanographer at the Goddard Space Flight Centre in Maryland, Wayne Esaias concluded that bloom in his Maryland area has moved forward by about a month. Esaias also stated that if those dates keep creeping forward, crucial plant pollinators could be in danger of getting out of sync.
Specialists at the conference agreed that Global warming affects Flowers directly and therefore bees. Bees and bumblebees are fundamental for the surveillance of many species on the planet including human beings
According to Sampedro in his report ‘Towards a world without bees’ (Hacia un mundo sin abejas) Not only has the climate change affected the populations of bees and bumblebees but also different factors such as pesticides, monoculture plantations or pathogen agents decreasing dramatically the Pollinators populations. He cites different studies and all of them conclude that governments, organisations and people in general need to work on the preservation of bees, bumblebees and basically all pollinators.
In conclusion I have discovered that not only bees are disappearing but also bumblebees and one of the causes apart from the ones cited above is the global warming.
The researches read also mentioned different tactics, laws and proposals that can help these pollinators survive such as to stop using pesticides or use less monoculture plantations but there is a statement which is quite positive and is the one made by Prof Jeremy Kerr, of the University of Ottawa “Ultimately, we must address climate change itself and every action we take to reduce emissions will help.”(Kerr at the Guardian ,2020)
Opportunity areas found
After analysing the information collected, I could come up with the next conclusions:
· Wild bees and bumblebees also pollinate flowers
· Climate change has changed the flowers blooming affecting the pollinators and if this continue, pollinators could face even a more drastic decrease
· Some bumblebees are more efficient than bees when pollinating flowers and they are also facing a great decrease in their species population.
· Bees an bumblebees also face isolation and could die from heat strike
· A good way to help them is to have aromatic plants to feed them, such as lavender, oregano, rue, mint, etc.
About the social context
Now a days our society lives in very different context. But certainly there is something that get us together and that is the willing to do something better for our planet. There is a wide variety of examples about what people are doing to help the environment and reduce their carbon footprint.
As Dieter Rams has stated; Good design is environmentally friendly, and society has become aware of that, and in order to get a good impact in society we need to create objects that links better the user and nature.
The Firm IDEO, defines social design as a process that encourages community facilitation including the share of ideas, beliefs and rituals. (What is social design? By IDEO, YouTube, retrieved March April 2020), therefore the project to develop will strive to offer an innovative product without forcing the user to change his or her rituals.
According to the firm IDEO, social design is also human centred, so the problem to define has become rather complex as there is the need of society to save the bees, therefore there is an idea of the problem to solve, which is to link both needs without disregard the principles of good design stated by Dieter Rams.
Mostly Mexican people between 24 yo and 38 yo were analysed and observed and found the following affirmation:
· People are moving outside their homes around 25 years old
· When the people move to a new house they start to look for attractive products to add their life and dairy rituals.
· Most of people try to get sustainable product when they can afford it.
· The majority of the people interviewed are excited when they get new and original products
· There is a tendency of buy plants when moving to a new place alone
· The most common accommodation in the city is shared flats whereas the most common place in small cities gets to be houses.
There is a will of society to help the environment through simple actions and accessible technologies, and the product design has the duty to help people and environment with an innovative, feasible, simple and sustainable product.
The proposal must be
· Easy to use
· Aesthetically coherent with the user and environment
· Involve as little design as possible
· Made for bees and user
There is a need to create a ceramic product with social impact through helping bees. Simple in its construction, easy to use and feasible to fire in a regular kiln.
Sketching and concepts
After brainstorming some ideas, came up with 6 proposals to be developed from which only one will be chosen after evaluating all of them, and find out which one fulfils better the design concept.
Decision making and variations
There were a few variations of the concept decided to make it fit with the initial design concept and to fulfil the parameters stated.
Experiments and prototyping
Once the corrections were made, there were different types of manufacturing, the 1st were modelling straight away but the best way was casting it as the form of the pot allows it to be done that way.
The results were quite satisfactory as they did work with different types of flowers, however, the experiments show a better empathy between the pollinators and aromatic herbs such as, cumin, rue, lavender, oregano etc.
Norman, Donald (1988). The Design of Everyday Things. New York: Basic Books
McNeil, M. E. A. (2019). Bees in a Changing Climate. Bee Culture, 147(11), 37–41.
Brown, Tim and Wyatt Jocelyn, (2009) Design Thinking for Social Innovation, IDEO, Retrieved from https://www.ideo.com/news/design-thinking-for-social-innovation
Clark, D.R. (2012). Design Methodologies: instructional, thinking, agile, system, or x problem? Retrieved from http://nwlink.com/~donclark/design/design_models.html
Esposito, Emily, ( 2018, 0ct) 4 types of research methods all designers should know, Inside, Design, Retrieved from https://www.invisionapp.com/inside-design/research-methods-designers/
Robbins, Jonna and Michaela (2009) Plant a Bee Garden, The Honey Bee Conservatory, retrieved from https://thehoneybeeconservancy.org/plant-a-bee-garden
Sampedro Javier (2014) Hacia un mundo sin abejas, El País, Retrieved from https://elpais.com/sociedad/2014/06/27/actualidad/1403882291_329326.html
Walls, Andrew (2018, Oct) Dieter Rams 10 Principles of Good Design, Hackernoon, retrieved from https://hackernoon.com/dieter-rams-10-principles-of-good-design
(2020 Feb), Bumblebees' decline points to mass extinction – study, The Guardian, retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/feb/06/bumblebees-decline-points-to-mass-extinction-study
Irvin Terry, (2012, July) Design a Worldview for Social Impact: Terry Irwin at TEDx Ar tCenter College Of Design, Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-te2OsCFWlc&t=975s