UK Pavilion, Expo Milano 2015

A result of the collaboration between the British artist Wolfgang Buttress and the engineer Tristan Simmonds, the pavilion of the United Kingdom stands out on the grounds of Expo Milano on account of its fragile intangibility. Inspired in beehives, it tries to recreate the world from the point of view of a bee traversing a succession of landscapes in its dance toward the hive. One’s visit of the pavilion begins with a journey through a food garden, which is followed by a meadow full of wild flowers and finally the impressive central piece, called The Hive, a sculptural object 14 meters tall sheltering a globe-shaped hollow. In here, one’s sensory experience reaches a peak.

Presenting three layers, this structure resembles a swarm of bees. It is composed of 169,300 aluminum pieces of three different types: rods, knots, and cords. The rods serve to stitch the different layers together, the semi-spherical knots connect all the pieces, and the cords give a sense of materiality to the complex. While the buzzing of hundreds of bees is heard through loudspeakers, all these metal pieces reflect the glint emitted by tiny LED bulbs. This multisensory vibration palpitates to the rhythm of the activity – captured by an accelerometer – taking place inside a beehive 1,500 kilometers away, in Nottingham, the artist’s native city.

Obra Work

Pabellón de Reino Unido The Hive, UK pavilion.

Arquitectos Architects

Wolfgang Buttress

Colaboradores Collaborators 

Tristan Simmonds (diseño estructura structure design); BDP (diseño paisajístico landscape design).

Consultores Consultants 

Stages One (fabricación y montaje manufacture and production); Dr. Martin Bencsik (experto en abejas bee expert).

Fotos Photos 

Laurian Ghinitoiu, Iñigo Bujedo, Hufton +Crow/UKTI.