One month to go? The Hive comes to Kew Gardens


The Hive comes to Kew Gardens…

Opens to the public Saturday 18 June 2016 (admission included with entry to the Gardens)

Press Preview: 10am on June 15 ? invites to follow

?ؠ Multi-award winning 17 metre high, 40 tonne installation

ؠ First ever UK Expo Pavilion to be reused and brought back home

ؠ Thousands of lights and soundscape linked by sensors to a living beehive

ؠ Pollination Trail through the Gardens and ?Hive? explainers

ؠ Dawn and dusk events

Kew Gardens

Reconnect with nature this summer at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew as you experience the world of the British bee come alive within Wolfgang Buttress? award winning installation, The Hive. Conceived as the centrepiece of the UK Pavilion at the 2015 Milan Expo and designed in collaboration with BDP and Simmonds Studio, The Hive is the first ever British Pavilion to be reused and brought back home, and will be unveiled within the stunning landscape of Kew Gardens on 18 June 2016.

Towering 17 metres high and twisting out of the ground in a shape suggestive of a swarm of bees this magnificent, ever changing space will stand as a visual symbol of the pollinators? role in feeding humanity and the challenges facing bees today. Illuminating talks, tours, activities and films will fill the Gardens, showing visitors how they too can make a difference.

Visitors will be drawn into The Hive via a lush and vibrant wild flower meadow as though they are bees returning to the hive. Once inside, thousands of flickering LED lights will bring this 40 tonne lattice structure to life, while an orchestral arrangement sets the mood. After discovering that bees hum in the key of C, a beautiful, complementary symphony of vocals and cello was composed and recorded (and released as an album), to create a calming, meditative soundscape within The Hive, inspired by the deep visceral hum of bees. Triggered by real-time activity within a living beehive located nearby in the Gardens, the sound and light intensity within the space will change as the energy levels in the real hive fluctuate, giving visitors an experiential insight into the life of a bee colony. As dusk falls, the hypnotic pulse of the delicately glowing lights will make the planned series of ?Hive Lates? a must-see during September.

The story of pollination will continue to come alive for visitors throughout Kew, from enjoying the seasonal array of sumptuous fruit and veg in Kew?s Kitchen Garden, to basking in the British summer on a Pollination Trail across the Gardens, revealing how Kew is exploring and nurturing the special relationship between bees and plants. Individual beehives, housing honey bees, bumblebees and solitary bees will take up home in the Gardens, enabling visitors to understand the inner workings of a hive, while the summer holidays will be filled with hands on activities for all ages. Drop in talks by Kew?s very own bee experts will bring the science to life, while Kew?s kitchen gardener will talk plants, pollination and vegetable growing while revealing how bees keep our much loved vegetables, such as tomatoes and strawberries, on the shelves.

Richard Deverell, Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew says:

?We are truly delighted to welcome The Hive to Kew, both for its incredible beauty 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.?

Wolfgang Buttress, designer of The Hive says:

It?s fantastic to watch The Hive coming back to life at Kew. The Gardens offer the perfect environment to host this multi-sensory experience that integrates art, science and landscape architecture.?

Visitors to The Hive will find themselves absorbed in nature via an immersive journey through a constantly changing space triggered by signals from living bees. A true celebration of British innovation and design, The Hive will sit perfectly within the beautiful topography of the Gardens bringing together architecture, science, sound and landscape.

What?s happening, and where? Talks, tours, trails and more?

2 July to 30 October 2016

Schedule - 2nd July to 30th October

Schedule - 2nd July to 30th October

Family activities for all ages

2 July ? 4 September 2016

Schedule - 2nd July to 4th September

Hive Lates

1, 15, 29 September

18.30 ? 21.30

Hive LatesHive Lates

Experience a summer?s evening in Kew Gardens as you amble through a wild flower meadow and enjoy the delicate flickering lights of Wolfgang Buttress? magnificent Hive at dusk, honey infused cocktail in hand.

Bee inspired tastings and workshops will fill the evening, with visitors able to enjoy talks from experts before finding the perfect grassy spot to relax and admire the beauty of The Hive while music floats across the Gardens.

Reconnect with nature and immerse yourself in the plight of the honey bee with this multi-sensory, award winning installation within the beauty of Kew Gardens.


From a stunning Alex Monroe Bumblebee necklace to delicious smelling wild flower candles, the Kew shop is celebrating all things bee related this summer, with this gorgeous range:

For images and more information please contact the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Press Office on 020 8332 5607 or email

Follow updates on The Hive at Kew on our Twitter page @kewgardens #KewHive

Notes to editors:

The UK Pavilion was designed by artist Wolfgang Buttress, and created by BDP, Simmonds Studio and Stage One

To reflect the Expo 2015 theme of ?Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life? the UK Pavilion highlighted the ground breaking UK research in pollinators, principally the bee, and their role in the global food chain, including by renowned scientist Dr. Martin Bencsik, who has been conducting pioneering research into bee vibration and communication patterns.

Bees, and other pollinators, play a vital role in feeding the planet – of the 100 crop species that provide 90% of food worldwide, 70 are pollinated by bees.

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

I feel truly privileged to have contributed to The Hive project, where Wolfgang’s design has created an amazing space for visitor reflection. Wolfgang has given us an extraordinary opportunity to include recent scientific research within his work, and how very fitting for it to now come to Kew Gardens.?

Lord Gardiner of Kimble, Lords Spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said:

?Pollinators like bees and other insects are integral to our natural environment, and play a vital role in our food industry.

?The Hive is an extraordinary structure, which symbolises how the UK champions the protection of bees and nature. I am delighted to see it make a return to the UK at Kew, where it will continue to amaze the public and raise awareness of how vital pollination is.?

Corporate Hire:


The Hive is available for hire for exclusive private events serving drinks and canapes, and can also be hired in conjunction with a range of venues at Kew.

For more information please contact the Kew Gardens events team on 0208 332 5641 or

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is a world famous scientific organisation, internationally respected for its outstanding collections as well as its scientific expertise in plant diversity, conservation and sustainable development in the UK and around the world.? Kew Gardens is a major international and a top London visitor attraction. Kew?s 132 hectares of landscaped gardens, and Kew?s country estate, Wakehurst, attract over 1.5 million visits every year. ?Kew was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2003 and celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2009.? Wakehurst is home to Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank, the largest wild plant seed bank in the world. Kew receives approximately just under half of its funding from Government through the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). Further funding needed to support Kew?s vital work comes from donors, membership and commercial activity including ticket sales.

Wolfgang Buttress creates sculptures which seek to define and celebrate a sense of place. His work alludes to histories, traces and memories, which are both personal, contextual and aim to express the sublime. The artworks establish a connection to something timeless and elemental, increasingly, he has drawn inspiration from nature, collaborating with experts to explore and interpret scientific discoveries.

Wolfgang has created and exhibited artworks in the UK and internationally. His awards include the Japanese Kajima Gold Award for ?Space? (2014) and the Structural Steel Award for projects under ?2 million (2013).? More recently his UK Pavilion design created for the 2015 Milan Expo was awarded the BIE gold award for ?best pavilion architecture and landscape?.

The Hive has won the following awards:

  1. Architizer award for best pavilion (jury) 2016
  2. Architizer award for best pavilion (public vote) 2016
  3. Civic Trust Special Award (Pro Tem) 2016
  4. Civic Trust Pro Tem Award 2016
  5. Homes and Gardens Award Backing British Design 2016
  6. Gold Award for Architecture and Landscape ? BIE Awards, UK Pavilion Milan Expo 2015
  7. Best Pavilion Architecture Award ? Italian Association of Architects and other Italian National Construction and Landscape bodies, 2015, UK Pavilion Milan Expo 2015
  8. Best Public Use Project with Public Funding ? Blueprint Awards, UK Pavilion Milan Expo 2015
  9. Best of Best for Event/Exhibition ? Iconic Awards, UK Pavilion Milan Expo 2015
  10. Best Landscape Scheme, High Budget ? Darc Awards, UK Pavilion Milan Expo 2015
  11. Winner ?Lighting Projects? ? WIN Design Awards, UK Pavilion Milan Expo 2015
  12. Best Lighting Design ? FX Design Awards, UK Pavilion Milan Expo 2015
  13. Building of the Year ? Manchester Architects Awards, UK Pavilion Milan Expo 2015
  14. Best Completed Community Building ? Manchester Architects Awards, UK Pavilion Milan Expo 2015
  15. Highly Commended, Landscape Award ? WAN Awards, UK Pavilion Milan Expo 2015
  16. Highly Commended, Temporary Landscape Design ? Landscape Institute Awards,
    UK Pavilion Milan Expo 2015
  17. Commended, Exhibition Lighting and Temporary Installations ? AL Awards, UK Pavilion?Milan Expo 2015

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