News / Architecture

The UK’s Milan Expo “beehive” pavilion by Wolfgang Buttress opens in London

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Wolfgang Buttress: The Hive; courtesy of UKTI, Crown Copyright

The Hive, the UK’s pavilion at last year’s World Expo in Milan, will open 18 June at Kew Gardens in London. Designed by artist Wolfgang Buttress with engineers Simmonds Studio and architects BDP, the pavilion is inspired by the role of the honey bee in the global ecosystem, and allows visitors to feel what it might be like to stand inside a real beehive.

The 17m-high honeycomb structure is made from 170,000 aluminium elements fitted with speakers and hundreds of LEDs that relay information and amplified sounds from inside a real beehive in Nottingham, UK. It was designed to respond to the Expo theme Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life, and the UK’s chosen theme Grown in Britain, led by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI).

Around 3.3m people visited the pavilion during the six month exhibition, making it the top paid British attraction worldwide in 2015. It was one of 145 pavilions at the World Expo in Milan, and won the gold medal for architecture and landscape.

Thomas Heatherwick designed the UK pavilion for the last World Expo in Shanghai in 2010, which displayed 60,000 seeds within fibre optic rods.

The Hive will be open at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, on 18 June 2016.

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Wolfgang Buttress: The Hive; courtesy of UKTI, Crown Copyright

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Wolfgang Buttress: The Hive; courtesy of UKTI, Crown Copyright

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Wolfgang Buttress: The Hive; courtesy of UKTI, Crown Copyright

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Wolfgang Buttress: The Hive; courtesy of UKTI, Crown Copyright