After ending its highly praised exhibition as the UK Pavilion at Expo 2015 Milan, The Hive, winner of the BIE gold medal for architecture and landscape (pavilions less than 2,000m2), is starting a new life in the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, in London. The iconic structure will be open to the public tomorrow, Saturday 18 June.
Expo 2015 Milan was organised under the theme ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’, and the Hive was the centrepiece of the UK’s participation in the Expo. The pavilion, which received over 3 million visits during the Expo, was designed by renowned architect Wolfgang Buttress and was dedicated to the role of bees in carrying out pollination. The contribution of these insects as pollinators is necessary for the reproduction of many plant species, making bees crucial to the global ecosystem and to the food chain. The Hive’s message draws attention to the importance of protecting bee species.
The idea behind the Hive was for visitors at Expo 2015 Milan to have a multi-sensory experience of life as a pollinating species. Visitors entered the structure by walking through a labyrinth path surrounded by fields of flowers, as if they were bees returning to their hive.
Now in London, the 17-metre high aluminium lattice structure of the Hive has been reassembled, along with its hundreds of individual LED lights and soundscape mixing bee noises with music. The lighting is determined by vibrations that are measured from an actual beehive in Kew Gardens. Additionally, ‘bone conductors’ have been installed underneath the Hive, which, when touched with a wooden stick held in the mouth, allow visitors to feel bee vibrations inside their head. This reflects the ways that bees communicate with each other through vibrations.
To mark the new addition, Kew Gardens is organising a range of educational activities throughout the summer which are all included in the price of the entrance ticket. These will involve specially trained ‘Hive Explainers’ to ensure visitors make the most of their Hive experience, as well as talks from bee and pollination experts. Visitors can also view short films about the lives of bees, follow the Pollination Trail and take part in informative family workshops.
More information on the Hive at Kew Gardens can be found on their website.
Cover image: Jeff Eden, RBG Kew