The Batpole in development

A home for bats on a pole. That was the answer of Daniel Meier and his colleagues Robin van Hontem and Janicke Kernland of Bee Collective last year to our design question for the first Design Award Made for Maastricht in 2016. According to our expert panel of judges, they had the most innovative idea and they won. What has happened in the meantime? We spoke to Daniel Meier about the design and its development.

The Batpole is inspired by the Sky Hive, a bee hive on a pole. Bee Collective designed this and executed this home for bees before. It is to be admired at the Lage Frontenpark in Maastricht. ‘The idea originated from our contact with Arcadis, a consultancy agency for developments in nature. The starting point for both designs is, besides nature conservation, that de designs are clearly visible and in this way attribute to the awareness of the presence of nature in the city,’ tells Daniel Meier.

Daniel and his partners are therefore very content with the place where the Batpole will be placed: the Tapijn park, in the area near the city wall and the Jeker, which is a gateway to the city. Moreover, a flying route of bats passes this area and bats have no shelter here. The appearance of the Batpole is striking, the silhouette reminds of Batman. Ever since winning the Design Award, the three designers have been working on the execution of the design. One of the conditions of the award was that the concept needed to be realised within six months. ‘The Batpole consists of two spaces which look the same, but are different in ways of insulation. Since, depending on the season, bats prefer to stay in a cooler or warmer space.’

For now only one Batpole will be developed, but Bee Collective hopes that they can interest companies to produce the design. ‘We have not been successful yet, since the development costs are high. One of the advantages is that the Batpole is mobile. Perhaps we will find partners once the Batpole is up. We expect that there is a market for the Batpole.’ Says Meier. When the Batpole will be placed is not clear yet. That coincides with the redevelopment of the park. Bee Collective is in anyway very pleased with the opportunity.

The second Made for Maastricht Design Award will be awarded on the opening evening of Designday, on Friday 19 May. Submissions by designers are still open till 14 April 2017.

parts of the Batpole, in production

batpole maquette
scale model of the Batpole