My experience of creating a bug hotel, or rather a ‘Bug Stadium’, has been an amazing one. It all started when around one year ago, I was briefed on the Eurostar project: “Come up with a design for an easy-to-maintain bug hotel and be inspired, make it your own!”. The idea my design surprisingly came to me rather quickly after I heard about the installation site’s vicinity to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Why not build a bug hotel based on the design of the Olympic stadium? And hence, the ‘Bug Stadium’ was born.
My main reason for choosing that structure for my design inspiration was that the Olympic games were an internationally recognised and celebrated event. Linking the idea of the games to the bugs might add that necessary ‘human factor’ that might make people recognise the importance of bees and other insects in our ecosystem. The structure would also have flowering shrubs in the middle where the ‘stadium’ would have been to attract the bugs, provide them with a food source and make the structure more visually appealing as a whole.
Soon after, I had begun working on my presentation, because after all, this was a competition and we all had to prepare and do our best to make our pitches for Eurostar great. We all then had a practice presentation session where we presented to Rachel, Nicole and each other. It really helped build confidence and helped make everything feel more real. One of the tips I got as feedback was to make my presentation less wordy and more of a visual aid.
After that we began working on the 3D models of our structure. I collected materials from around the Skip Garden and bought a few small boxes to create my model; not surprisingly, there was a lot of glue and tape involved!
Before I knew it the day to make the pitch to Eurostar had arrived. I was really nervous at first but the judges were extremely friendly and I was able to make my presentation with little to no struggle. The winner of the competition was announced at an event celebrating bees a few weeks later, and I had won! I remember feeling really surprised but mostly just ridiculously happy; it just seemed like such an amazing project to work on. (Here I am on that day with Luke Ervine, Head of Environment and Energy at Eurostar)
I had my first meeting with the people I would be working on the project with a few weeks after the winner was announced. I met Paul, Global Generation’s Gardens Manager and Dave, the architect. After some brainstorming sessions where all the details were locked down, we began building the ‘Bug Stadium’. Paul’s guidance on the shrubs was amazing while the building sessions with Dave were very productive. As someone who lives in a city like London, the opportunity to actually build something and use power tools was really exciting.
We then had a session where many young people volunteered to help with the building of the project. We used materials from all around the garden to fill in the boxes. It felt amazing to have so many people help and support something that was once just an idea in my head... it would have taken a lot more difficult to finish the project without them.
And after one last building session where we finally assembled the structure, the bug hotel project was finally completed. I feel really happy that I had an opportunity to actually create something that will help make a positive impact in our environment and am so glad that I had so many people supporting me at every stage. I can definitely say without a doubt that this was an unforgettable experience.