Slovakian designer Tomáš Libertíny claims that a creative agency from New York is exploiting two of his trademark projects — 2007 Honeycomb Vase which is part of the MOMA collection, and The Unbearable Lightness from 2010. Libertíny recently told Dezeen the agency Sid Lee created a honeycomb sculpture for Dewar’s Highlander Honey whiskey using pretty much the same process as Libertíny.
The artist contacted Dezeen after seeing the campaign which included printing sheets of beewax over a bottle and the bust by using 80,000 bees to form a honeycomb pattern. Apparently, Libertíny used the same technique in one of his first projects of this kind in 2007, when he presented a vase made using 40,000 bees. His team called it “slow prototyping.”
In an official statement the Slovakian artist expressed his hope that Dewar’s campaign won’t discourage people from seeing “the relevance of nature (in this case honeybees) and the importance of it to human survival.”
The agency admits to being inspired by Libertíny’s work but stresses the slight differences in the process. Sid Lee managing partner Lukas Derksen noted that Libertíny himself was inspired by the works of sculptor Garnett Puett and Hilary Berseth. According to Mark Corran, intellectual property lawyer from London, the technique can hardly be considered intellectual property. “He hasn’t got a monopoly on this process,” Corran added.