Nottingham artist Wolfgang Buttress’ massive aluminum Hive is creating a buzz yet again. Originally created for the 2015 Milan Expo, the 55-foot-tall, LED-embedded Hive has been moved to its new home at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, with the help of UK creative construction company and manufacturer Stage One. The 40-tonne beehive-inspired installation reopens to the public this weekend.
First installed at the world expo last spring, the multi-award-winning Hive was disassembled at the end of the event and moved to the Kew Gardens, where it was reassembled as the UK’s first-ever rebuilt Expo pavilion. Its lattice-like design was inspired by the lifespan of the honeybee and “highlights the important role of bees and other pollinators in feeding the planet,” says Stage One. The complex structure comprises nearly 170,000 parts assembled in 32 horizontal layers with hexagonal cells for a metal honeycomb effect. Each piece was etched with a reference number to make reassembly a possibility.
More than just an elaborate artwork, the Hive serves an educational purpose and guides visitors through a multi-sensory experience simulating a real beehive. An array of almost 1,000 LEDs line the Hive’s internal void and are complemented with orchestral sound recordings. Sensors that monitor activity within a real beehive at Kew control the light and sound intensity. The Hive will stay at the London gardens until the end of 2017.
Images via Stage One