BEEHAVE I 2019
Sir John Sorrell, chairman of London Design Festival, has called upon his friends at London’s top cultural institutions to collaborate with some of the world’s most prolific designers to create a ‘Legacy’ piece in American red oak that will be shown at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, in collaboration with Benchmark Furniture.
A log-shaped beehive with legs that has been scorched black and engraved, designed by Marlène Huissoud for Sir Ian Blatchford, Director/Chief Executive of the Science Museum Group. The red oak has been varnished inside and out with propolis, a dark resinous material produced by bees to seal gaps in the hive; this protects the timber and attracts bees with its scent.
Sir Ian Blatchford commissioned Marlène Huissoud to create a beehive to feature in a new permanent gallery at the Science Museum focused on the future of agriculture. Whilst doing some research for the new gallery, Ian came across a research project focused on the habits of bees and the reason behind their decline in population. When meeting with Marlène, who is not only a designer whose artistic outlook is rooted in the natural world, but also the daughter of a beekeeper, a beehive seemed like the obvious choice.
“Bees are on my mind, and when this London Design Festival opportunity arose, it seemed like a provocative and surprising idea to present a beehive to the public in the new gallery. You expect to see lots of machinery in a science museum but not something so profoundly organic.”, – Sir Ian Blatchford, The Science Museum
Growing up in the French Alps as the daughter of a beekeeper, nature is something that has always been close to heart to Marlène Huissoud and central to her work as a designer and artist. When designing the beehive for Sir Ian Blatchford, Marlène wanted to break away from the traditional, house-like beehive, and create something more organic.
“I wanted this insect habitat to reflect nature. This hive looks like a log and harks back to one of the oldest techniques for beekeeping that exists, because it is also a refuge for wild bees, somewhere they can make a home in the wild. I didn’t want it to be all about making honey – this piece is about helping bees to live.” – Marlène Huissoud
Legacy project commissioned by American Harwood Export Council, in collaboration with Benchmark.