The Refuge® bench: from biodiversity to the public bench!

Since January 1st, 2017, the French Labbé law has prohibited the use of phytosanitary products in public spaces. The application of this law is seeing the spontaneous return of vegetation to the city.

The return of flora also involves a return of fauna, including small creatures such as insects feeding off of the vegetation, pollen or nectar. The logical result of the return of these creatures is the return of their predators, meaning a procession of birds, which are indispensable in an urban setting.

So that these creatures can thrive, they need food, of course, and also somewhere to winter, to reproduce and to take shelter. The meeting of Julien Hoffmann (Naturalist|DEFI-écologique (ecological challenge)), Philippe Riehling (Ecological Designer) and Sineu Graff gave birth to the Refuge® Bench and to its use, in order to create the natural conditions for insect life.

The concept of the Refuge® Bench

The Refuge® Bench is a seat with 15 boxes integrated under it, each having all of the natural ingredients required for certain insect species to live, flourish and reproduce. Thus Lacewings, Ladybirds and Flower Bugs will be food for local small insect-eating birds, which will thus be able to retake their place in the local environment.

The objective: bring Man and Nature together, enabling the two to act as one

While the main objective is to encourage the return of nature to the city through substrates placed inthe boxes, it is also essential to raise public awareness by providing a participatory learning tool.

The insect world is little-known to the general public, and is sometimes feared. These initiatives demystify insects, placing them in their natural milieu and explaining their essential role in biodiversity. The Refuge® Bench makes this known through the QR code placed on the Refuge® Bench, which gives access to the DEFI-écologique site, where the device and its objectives are explained, and information on the insects residing there and the role they play in biodiversity is provided.

Visitors to the site can participate by noting their field observations, which will constitute a precious source of information and data.

The materials

Insects are small, very demanding creatures that are attracted to specific things, which may be particular plants or biotopes. The same is true for the materials, which may draw specific insects. The 15 shelters in this device have therefore been designed to take this into account, and each of them targets a specific species, both through the choice of materials used and through the size, down to the millimetre, of the side openings. The materials used to equip the Refuge® Bench have all been selected with eco-design principles in mind.

The finishes also play an important part. The choice of colour must be assessed, and the contrast between black (RAL 9004, matt) and coral red (RAL 3016, sandy texture) plays a leading role for some species housed by our device.

> Find out here about the details of the materials and the insects attracted by each cut.

The implanter

The implanter of the Refuge® Bench is essential to ensure it will be successfully colonised by the insects. The proximity of the preferably diverse vegetation guarantees the presence of the insects targeted by the device, and above all the coherence of the installation. A due-South orientation ensures the sunlight needed by the insects. 3 available configurations:

3 available configurations:

U-shape configuration

Optional tree guard

L-shape configuration

Linear configuration

> The Refuge® Bench is thus an urban seat that is a combination of participatory science, encouragement for biodiversity and a way of promotingthe environment.

When you talk plants, you talk insect food. The covering is clad, and the Refuge® Bench provides the lodging!

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