Interior Design Students Create Insect Habitats

June 26, 2024
Part of a larger art installation designed by Nerea Feliz and her collaborator Joyce Hwang, the habitats will be on display at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden through October 20.
Pollinator Lounge structure seen in the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens in early evening

This summer, insect habitats designed by first-year interior design students will be on display at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden in New York City. Part of BBG’s plant-centered exhibition and program series “Natural Attractions,” the functional art installation creates a space for native insect pollinators and visitors to the botanical garden to coexist. 

“Pollinator Lounge” is the latest in a series of projects conceived by Associate Professor Nerea Feliz and her longtime collaborator Joyce Hwang. Working as the design collective Double Happiness, the two have collaborated on multiple projects that invite cohabitation between humans and other species. “Pollinator Lounge” builds on last summer’s installation at the Bentway in downtown Toronto, which featured a series of urban furnishings designed for humans and animals alike.  

To create the “Pollinator Lounge,” students at The University of Texas at Austin and the University at Buffalo spent part of the Spring 2024 semester designing insect habitats for the physical installation. At UT Austin, first-year undergraduate interior design students designed fifteen individual habitats, while second year University at Buffalo architecture students worked in groups of 3 or 4 to design 28 habitat spaces. The prompt: to create highly-crafted three-dimensional shelters for specific insect pollinators to stand atop seating for humans. Each habitat was designed with features that invite insects to feel at home including UV light reflective graphics that evoke a nonhuman perception of space.

“Pollinator Lounge” will be displayed at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens throughout the summer and early fall through October 20, 2024. The installation is part of a larger exhibition and program series aimed at fostering appreciation for the essential roles that plants and insects play in our lives and in maintaining the health of our planet.

Group shot of Nerea Feliz and her interior design students in the Goldsmith Courtyard with their insect habitats.

Above: Pollinator Lounge at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. Photo by Liz Ligon, courtesy of the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens.

A person interacts with the Pollinator Lounge habitats
Photo by Liz Ligon
Elevation rendering of the Pollinator Lounge in cool blues and purples with insects.
Pollinator Lounge elevation with insects.
Rotating gif of the insect habitats in white on a dark blue background.
Students' UV patterns.
Interior design students working in studio on their insect habitats.