Look, I get it. You’re confused… Why did one of the nerdiest blogs on the planet attend the Kew botanical gardens? Simple - The Hive is worth its 48-tonne weight in innovation and wide-eyed fascination.
The Hive, an award-winning installation by fellow Nottingham-ite Wolfgang Buttress, tells a story that while simple is one we never think to pay attention too. In fact, it’s the story of an animal we are programmed to villainize - the bee. It’s the story of how pollination is not just important to the population of these yellow and black striped creatures, but to the population of the entire world as well.
It is told through this 17-metre high lattice structure, positioned in the middle of a vibrant wildflower meadow - attempting to recreate the return trip bees make to the hive. And then you step inside for the full audio/visual experience…
Thanks to a huge array of speakers and flickering LED lights, they are able to create an amazingly immersive experience. After the discovery that bees hum in the key of C, a beautiful symphony was composed with vocals and cello in this key, to create an almost meditative soundscape within The Hive. Alongside this, the LEDs are connected to the activity in a nearby living hive, lighting up in relation to a bee making contact with that specific part.
The intensity of lights and sound within The Hive fluctuate based on the intensity of activity in the live hive, making for an incredible live experience that is part-immersive education tool and part-captivating visual sight to behold.
Put simply, it’s well worth the £15 admission to Kew Gardens. Step into a true testament of British innovation and design.