This summer, artist Wolfgang Buttress brings the centrepiece of his 2015 Milan Expo pavilion to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. The installation – The Hive – was the UK’s award-winning entry at the expo. It takes up its new home within Kew Gardens from June 2016. The installation was the inspiration for and the original home of the BE•ONE project (a forthcoming Rivertones album release).
Soaring 17 metres in the air, designed by Wolfgang Buttress and created by BDP, Simmonds Studio and Stage One, The Hive is an immersive, multi-sensory experience inspired by UK ground-breaking scientific research into the health of bees. Showcasing British creativity, innovation and leadership in overcoming global challenges, this magnificent aluminium structure will draw visitors into the space via a wildflower meadow, as though they were worker bees returning to the hive. The wildflower meadow will serve to build understanding and appreciation of these habitats, and their significance for insect pollinators. Hundreds of glowing LED lights bring this 50 tonne lattice structure to life, while a beautiful symphony of orchestral sounds fill the air, with an atmospheric undercurrent of buzzes and pulses. Triggered by vibration sensors within a real beehive, the sound and light intensity within the pavilion increases as the energy levels in the living hive surge, giving visitors an incredible insight into the ever -moving life of a bee colony.
As visitors wander through this continually changing space, they will begin a journey, exploring the vital role of bees and other pollinators in feeding the planet – of the 100 crop species that provide 90% of food worldwide, 70 are pollinated by bees.
Richard Deverell (Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew) said: “We are truly delighted to announce The Hive’s move to Kew, both for its magnificent aesthetic appeal and for the resonance it has with our work – I can think of no better home for this remarkable marriage of architecture and science. 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. To be able to bring those stories alive here at Kew – a centre of scientific knowledge and expertise and one of the planet’s most biodiverse city landscapes – is a true honour.”
Soundscape music from the space will be released on Caught by the River’s in house record label, Rivertones, on February 12th (pre-order here). A pair of BE•ONE gigs will take place at Nottingham’s Art Theatre on February 18th and 19th. For more information and ticket links, click here.