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Image by Rosie Fraser

The Hive

The Hive at Kew Gardens, London, UK, is a unique, multi-sensory experience designed to highlight the extraordinary life of bees. A feat of British engineering, it stands 17 metres tall, set in a wildflower meadow.

Images by RawAssembly

About The Hive

The Hive is a unique immersive experience, connecting you to real bees in a beehive at Kew.

An accelerometer sits in a beehive at Kew allowing us to see and hear how the bees are interacting. Accelerometers are vibration sensors.

This accelerometer picks up vibrations from activity of the bees. And these vibrations are sent in real-time to The Hive.

The Hive is an immersive sound and visual experience. The lights you see and the sounds you hear inside The Hive are triggered by bee activity in a real beehive at Kew.

The intensity of the sounds and light change constantly, echoing that of the real beehive. The multi award-winning Hive was inspired by scientific research into the health of honeybees. It is a visual symbol of the pollinators’ role in feeding the planet and the challenges facing bees today

Bees communicate through vibrations. Scientists at Nottingham Trent University, led by Dr Martin Bencsik, only recently discovered this. And it is the influencing force behind Wolfgang Buttress's design for The Hive.

He illustrates the vibrations through light and sound. And in the area under The Hive you can discover for yourself how it might be to communicate with a bee. Bone conductors convert the sounds from the beehive into vibrations which, when touched with a wooden stick, travel directly to the skull. This experience gives you an insight into the secrets of bee communication.

How it was Made

It is the design of UK based artist Wolfgang Buttress. Originally created for the UK Pavilion at the 2015 Milan Expo.

It’s 17 metres tall, constructed from 170,000 aluminium parts, 1,000 LED lights and took four months to reconstruct here at Kew.

Images: Kew Gardens Official image


Kew Gardens Direct Link:


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