A world without bees is a world without our favorite foods. To raise awareness on the plight of the disappearing honeybee, Slovakian artist Tomáš Libertíny enlisted the help of a bee colony to build The Agreement, a 1.6-meter-tall sculpture made of beeswax. The organic living structure is considered a world first for using bee architecture in large-scale fabrication and symbolizes the desired equilibrium between natural and man-made worlds.
Commissioned by RBKC for the London Olympics 2012, The Agreement was constructed before a live audience and enclosed in a glass box that bees were free to fly in and out of. In addition to help from the bees, Studio Libertíny, who has worked on similar bee architecture projects, collaborated with Peter James from the Physics Chelsea Garden and Rudolf Moravčík from The Beekeeping Museum in Slovakia to construct the public living artwork. The Agreement was only shown for a week during the 2012 London Olympics, however it has been brought back for display in the Venice Biennale’s Glasstress Gotika exhibition at Murano.
The design team first used 3D-modeling software to create the primary skeleton that was carefully engineered for tension and stability. Once the skeleton was constructed, a colony of bees took over to fill in the gaps of the tower-like sculpture with beeswax. An ornamental metal grill was installed beneath the structure to collect and hide the bees that die off, a natural phenomenon that occurs every day in a healthy hive.
“The natural building of combs in a empty space is very organic and a subject to external forces. The aim of this idea was to combine both the accuracy of technology and chaos of nature to create an architectural experience,” says Libertíny. “The bees act as small quantum computers that together as a swarm perform multiple and very complex architectural computations…The bees, as quantum computers, are as much a beautiful testimony to the power of the nature as they are a poetic translation of what the future of architecture could be.”
Images via Studio Libertíny