Cork native 22-year-old Niam Damari has been announced as the national winner of the James Design Award for a project that seeks to address the problem of declining Irish black bee population.
He holds an MS from the University of Limerick. Damari, a student, used natural materials to create a nest called Ikonok. This self-assembly hive “Biomimix” is the hollow shape of a tree, ideal for bees to move around in a cluster in the winter.
The base of the echinococcus is made from mycelium, which grows from mushrooms and is similar to polystyrene, while the natural material also protects against beetle mite, which can transmit the virus to bees. The hive also comes with a calendar that teaches the user about biodiversity and how to create a more diverse garden.
“Although bees are very small, they play an important role in nature and the environment,” she said.
“My father kept bees, and like my grandfather before him, I was always surrounded by bees and had a love for them. With the commercialization of beekeeping, many are importing other bees that breed with Irish black bees, and these pressures cannot survive in the Irish climate and black bees. ”
It is estimated that by 2030 one-third of Ireland’s bee species will be extinct, causing a crisis for wildlife and horticulture.
Ms Damari said she believes hives will encourage more people to think about nature and how to ensure the survival of the hive. I think as designers we have the power to make changes big and small, and also to change people’s attitudes with what we design and how we design. ”
This is the sixteenth year of the James Design Awards for leading breakthrough ideas in engineering and design. Competitions in 27 countries are open to current or recent design and engineering students.
MS Damari, which aims to invest in innovative prototyping and further research, is receiving $ 2,000 for its project. They will advance to the international stage of the award.
“We were unanimously drawn to the creative innovation of the NIAM around this urgent issue of bee population decline in Ireland,” said Barry Sheehan, Head of Design at the Technological University of Dublin, one of the judges.
Second place went to Keith Fitzsimmons Peppy of the National College of Art and Design, and Enzo – The Guided Play Toolkit by Win Trung from the Technological University of Dublin.
Peppy is a product that encourages children with cystic fibrosis (CF) to practice airway clearance therapy with playful attachment. It acts as a spirometer, which records the user’s lung activity levels and logs them into an application.
Enzo is a 3D printed toolkit that includes children in guided play lessons and trains teachers as play facilitators. It is designed to fit the primary curriculum and educational play policies around the world.