For last year’s UK Pavilion at Milan’s World Expo, artist Wolfgang Buttress created a unique structure that told the story of the honey bee. Receiving much critical acclaim, The Hive has moved to Kew Gardens in South London.
Despite the structure’s delicate appearance, it weighs 40 tonnes and stands at 17m tall. The latticework comprises thousands of aluminium pieces laced with LEDs, creating an atmospheric light work at dawn and dusk. Inside, standing on a honeycomb patterned glass floor, visitors are immersed in a unique, meditative soundscape inspired by the deep hum of a beehive.
As well as being a thing of beauty, The Hive embodies a pressing, environmental message, as Richard Deverell, director of the Royal Botanic Gardens explains. ‘The Hive creates a powerful, immersive space for us to explore the urgent issues we face in relation to pollinators, their intimate relationships with plants and their vital role in helping us feed a rapidly growing population.’ The pavilion will provide a scientific and cultural centre point for talks, workshops and events on the issues surrounding native bee colonies.
Wolfgang Buttress adds, ‘It’s fantastic to watch The Hive coming back to life at Kew. The Gardens offer the perfect environment to host this multi-sensory experience that integrates art, science and landscape architecture.’
The installation is the first ever UK Pavilion to be reused and brought back home. It opens to the public on 18 June, and will remain a feature in the Gardens until the end of 2017.