The Hive

On a warm Autumnal day we recently visited Kew Gardens, a belated birthday present that would include a cream tea.

Kew, one of London’s largest, if not cheapest, gardens was busy with groups of schoolchildren learning of the vital work the horticultural organisation undertakes. Apart from being under Heathrow’s flight path you could imagine that you were anywhere but London.

[I] have visited Kew many times before and even with an entrance fee approaching £20 it makes for a great day. The real surprise – worth the price of the admission – this time was a new installation – The Hive. Over 170,000 aluminium tubes seemingly to float 17 metres in the air, each rod just touching its neighbour. Looking from a distance like a swarm of bees.


Get closer and its conception becomes more apparent. A low humming sound and hundreds of LED lights draw you into the installation.

The intensity of this sensation is controlled by the vibration of honeybees in an actual hive connected nearby.

Designed to publicise the comprehensively researched decline of the nation’s bee population, it originally was displayed at the 2015 Milan Expo. Surrounded by a one-acre wildflower meadow, it was of real interest to the visiting schoolchildren. Their attentive, if a little bored faces, lit up once inside The Hive, the noise and vibration genuinely give the impression of entering a real hive.

The Hive – June 2016 until November 2017

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