Busy bees

Cross-disciplinary collaborations are nothing new in design, but what about an interspecies collaboration? Meet a trio that made it work.

So bees are known to be very hard-working, in addition to all the other good things they are capable of like pollinating flowers and producing honey. Recognising the potential of bees, Royal College of Art graduates Kevin Hill, Vanessa Harden and Ben Faga joined forces to develop a new design process that would allow for a collaboration with the versatile insects.

Dubbed “Built By”, the project sees humans working with bees to produce the structural detailing for furnishings.

The result is  an “interspecies collaboration”, a unique range of furnishings made by humans and bees. A custom-made enclosure allows the bees to build in a “playground hive” attached, but separate, from their home and nursery. This allows the creatives to craft furniture without removing the integral structures of the honeycomb.

Built By recently presented their project to build a baby’s crib from cast metal honeycomb. The beehives are located on the roof of the trio’s London studio. Interestingly, a collaboration of this nature is a very slow process. The designers reckon it will take about 12 months for the bees to make enough honeycomb to make the prototype crib. The crib may then be the first of a whole range of be(e)spoke furnishings.

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