Kew’s new ‘Hive’ is an undeniably impressive
structure. A 40-tonne aluminium lattice aimed at replicating an actual beehive,
it’s come all the way from the Milan Expo 2015, where it was seen by some 3.3
The Hive’s new home sees it thoughtfully set within
Kew Gardens’ wild flower garden. Its aluminium carapace spirals up, suggesting
a swarm, its
gleaming metal structure contrasting with the green surroundings. Venture inside the strange
structure and the changing light and music are meant to give you an
interpretation of what it's like inside a real beehive, as thousands of LEDs beautifully illuminate the Hive's interior.
One of The Hive’s most unique features is
its orchestral music, based on the buzzing of actual bees (in the key of C)
from within Kew’s own beehives. The music fills the structure with a low eerie
humming sound that transports listeners to the bees’ world (significantly, real bees control the lights and sound by their own in-hive activity). One expecting a fully immersive experience might be disappointed, as
the outside world is still clearly visible, and the size of the space distracts
somewhat from the experience.
Honey bee populations have fallen by a third since
2007: with The Hive nearing 17 metres in height, it makes a
big statement (quite literally) about the importance of pollinators. Helpful hive-explainers are
on hand every day to talk to visitors about the perils of being a British bee.
Despite not being as striking as expected, The
Hive is an enjoyable experience – and if you are in Kew gardens, The Hive is well worth the visit for both adults and children alike. The combination of art
and science functions very well – you’d be hard pressed to find a more original
means of learning about bees.
Entry to The Hive is included in the ticket to Kew Gardens
|What||The Hive, Kew Gardens|
Kew, Richmond, , Surrey, TW9 3AB | MAP
|Nearest tube||Kew Gardens (underground)|
18 Jun 16 – 29 Sep 16, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
|Website||Click here to find out more|