A team led by artist Wolfgang Buttress just scooped the winning bid to design a beehive-like structure for the UK pavilion at the 2015 Milan Expo. Titled BE, the “pulsating virtual hive” was designed to call attention to the plight of the honeybee. The Nottingham-based artist, whose team includes fashion designer Paul Smith and specialist engineer Simmons Studio, beat out a shortlist of seven finalists that included architect Asif Khan and landscape architects Grant Associates.
Inspired by the 2015 Milan Expo’s theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life,” Buttress’ team hopes that BE will help bring visitors closer to the British landscape and inspire ways to help solve the dying honeybee populations. Buttress’ winning proposal shares similarities with Thomas Heatherwick’s design for the UK pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo in 2010. Like its predecessor, the 2015 BE pavilion will also offer an immersive, nature-inspired environment illuminated by tiny glowing lights.
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To highlight the honeybee’s important role in food production, visitors will walk through a wildflower meadow and orchard before reaching the pavilion as a way to trace the path of a honeybee as it moves from its food source to its life in a bee colony. The virtual hive will react to signals sent out from a real hive with buzzes and glowing lights to create a heightened sensory experience.
+ Wolfgang Buttress
Images via Malcolm Reading