The Hive sculpture was designed by artist Wolfgang Buttress working in collaboration with structural engineers Simmonds Studio, physicist Dr Martin Bencsik of Nottingham Trent University, and was manufactured in the UK by Stage One. Architects BDP are working alongside Wolfgang Buttress to create an immersive wild flower meadow and landscape that will engage the visitor creating a sense of journey leading to ‘The Hive’.

The Hive is an abstracted analogue of a honeycomb.  A rotational twist in the structure introduces movement, suggestive of a swarm. The form is a 14m cube raised-up on columns, appearing almost to hover above the meadow. A spherical void hollowed from the centre, allows visitors to enter. Walking beneath the sculpture, visitors may peer up through the glass floor into the interior.

Accelerometers (vibration sensors) are used to measure the activity of a real bee colony living at Kew, feeding live signals to 1000 LED luminaires which line the interior of the Hive. Algorithms are used to convert these vibrational signals into lighting effects, allowing the Hive to convey a visual representation of the state of the colony. This visual experience is complemented by a soundscape based upon pre-recorded bee sounds and harmonious stems crafted by an ensemble of musicians.

The Hive represents the intrinsic and important relationship between bee and human bringing together art, science, sound and landscape through an immersive and multi-sensory experience.



33,098 node (caps) 

5,711 chord plates 

31,176 spacer plates 

28,782 rods 

891 LEDs  

38 panels for the glass floor 

72 balustrade panels  

80  fittings 

18 columns 

4 ring beam segments 

33,098 node bolts 

16,549 hex stud  

16,549 screw for locating upper node cap 

2,856  estimated splice bolts 

378  lengths of LED ductwork 




Artist + Creative Lead
Wolfgang Buttress

Architects and Landscape Architects: BDP

Structural Engineers:  Simmonds Studio

Audio-Visual Design:
Squint Opera  

Pavilion Manufacture And Production: 
Stage One

Physicist and Bee Expert:
Dr. Martin Bencsik:  Nottingham Trent University

Acoustic Engineers:
Hoare Lea

Lighting Consultant:
Andy Coates