While nearly everyone has heard of IKEA, you may not be familiar with its design lab, called SPACE10, which is focused on creating sustainable and functional solutions for the evolving challenges of daily life. One of the most recent challenges is colony collapse, an epidemic that threatens up to one-third of the world’s food supply. With this in mind, SPACE10 partnered with design studio Bakken and Bæck and product designer Tanita Klein to develop Bee Home, an open-source beehive anyone can design for free.
“I want people to design a dream home for bees that provides the perfect environment for their offspring, while at the same time being incredibly easy to design, assemble and place,” Klein said. “It was important for me that Bee Home is aesthetically pleasing and almost feels like you’ve added a sculpture to your garden or your balcony. This project really exemplifies how design can do good for both people and their environment.”
The process is easy and fun. Simply visit the Bee Home website to review the options. Select the size, height and style that appeals to you and fits best for your yard, garden or patio. With the parameters chosen, download the design files. Then use the files to build your Bee Home or source someone locally who can do the work for you. The website also provides a list of makerspaces to help you find one in your area. Once your Bee Home is constructed, place it in your desired location and plant flowers nearby to attract bees.
Bee Home is intended for solitary bees. Solitary bees are super workers; a single bee can pollinate as much as what 120 honeybees typically pollinate. Each female is a queen, who produces around 20-30 offspring, and several queens can share a Bee Home, potentially resulting in hundreds of solitary bees.
“To reconnect with the many bees in our environment, we need to give back what we have taken from them: their homes,” said Myles Palmer, project lead for Bakken and Bæck. “By designing new interactive experiences, we can create a more sustainable manufacturing process for doing so: one that is truly open-sourced, informed by local living and customizable for many contexts and uses.”
The homes are simple to design, build, place and maintain. Once in place, leave your Bee Home alone to provide a safe environment for its inhabitants. Once every three years, clean your Bee Home. Otherwise, enjoy the visual appeal of your free design. The planet will thank you.
“For almost 80 years, IKEA has enabled people to create a better everyday life at home. But our home is more than just four walls — our home is also the planet we live on,” said Kaave Pour, director of SPACE10. “That is why we launch Bee Home: we want to enable people everywhere to help rebalance our relationship with the planet and ensure a sustainable home for all of us.”
Images via SPACE10