For those who don’t know, last year Milan, the city I grew up in Italy, hosted the Expo 2015, a World’s Fair held under the theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” and The Hive was the UK’s national pavilion designated to showcase how technology and innovation mixed with national’s culture, traditions and creativity can be related to food and diet in order to overcome global challenges such as one of the world’s major issues of feeding a rapidly growing population.
Following this theme The Hive pavilion, imagined by the British artist Wolfgang Buttress with engineers Simmonds Studio and BDP Architects, takes shape from scientific research that raises awareness about the role of pollination as essential to human survival. It was one of the 145 pavilions at the Milan Expo 2015 and it was acclaimed as one of the best architectural results winning the gold medal for architecture and landscape at the end of the World Fair.
After Expo The Hive pavilion has been installed again in Kew Royal Botanic Gardens where it will stay until November 2017. I think the chosen location is the perfect new home for this structure that is now set in a wildflower meadow with plenty of signs spread around the area informing with interesting facts about insects pollination and the relationship between bees and plants.
The Hive creates a beehive-inspired space that provides an experience in which all the senses are involved. The installation includes glowing red lights and sounds that recall the buzz of bees. All these audio and visual effects allow the visitors to feel what it might be like to stand inside a real beehive. It’s a unique experience that you probably won’t be able to find anywhere else. I highly recommend to see The Hive even when the sun goes down so that you can admire the entire installation while turning into a vibrant fire-ball thanks to those vivid red lights. Scroll down here to get a feeling of it.
And lastly, the artist Wolfgang Buttress has been so kind to accept to answer to a couple of questions I had about the Hive. I thank him again and I hope you will enjoy these few more details and curiosities about him and his work.
- It was very light and relatively easy therefore to install.
- If the pieces were cut by water jet there would incredible accuracy – this was needed – as we only had about a 1mm tolerance.
- I was keen that the material could be easily recycled
- I wanted the material to patinate naturally over time.
There’s still plenty of time to visit The Hive in Kew Gardens but just a little suggestion, try to go on a bright, sunny day (I know it’s hard now that winter is coming) so that you can see the pavilion changing in relation to the movement of the sun. You will see beautiful shadows drawing the surrounding area, the metallic structure will be shining and if you stay a bit longer until the sun sets the red lights within the beehive will offer you an unforgettable view.