Honey Bees Bring Art to Life

“The Hive”, a 44-ton metallic installation, meditatively rests on the grounds of the Kew Gardens in London, England. Visitors must walk through a field of wildflowers filled with pollinating honey bees to reach this 56-foot structure. Made from carefully crafted aluminum bars and rods, its spiralling form echoes that of a bee hive. Along with a team of artists, landscape architects, musicians, and a scientist, Wolfgang Buttress originally created it for the UK Pavilion at the 2015 Milan Expo. But its more than just a sculpture. Stimulated by the activity of 50,000 honey bees pollinating in the surrounding gardens, it creates an immersive, multisensorial experience through flickering real-time LED lights and harmonious sounds of musical instruments. Buttress wanted to gently convey the imperative of honey bees to our planet, since they pollinate over 30% of what humans eat. He was also intrigued by how nature builds structures, which he echoes in his seamless fusion of form and function. He hopes his harmonious and meditative form will encourage people to consider their place in the natural world. 

The Hive at Kew Gardens from Kew Gardens on Vimeo.

Topic