Studio Libertiny at Droog



Live from Milan: this is the best thing we've seen in Milan so far - a vase made by bees.


With a Little Help of the Bees by Tomas Gabzdil Libertiny of Studio Libertiny is part of Droog's Smart Deco 2 show.


Libertiny made a vase-shaped hive that the bees then colonised, building a hexagon comb around it. The wax sheets used to make the hive were embossed with a honeycomb pattern to help the bees on their way.

Libertiny calls the process "slow prototyping" - it took 40,000 bees a week to make the vase. Since the bees get aggressive when they are interrupted, Libertiny had to guess when it was time to remove the vase.

Libertiny sent us this statement:


“I have been interested in contradicting the current consumer society (which is interested in slick design) by choosing to work with a seemingly very vulnerable and ephemeral material - beeswax.

“To give a form to this natural product it has occurred more than logical to choose a form of a vase as a cultural artifact. Beeswax comes from flowers and in the form of a vase ends up serving flowers on their last journey.

“At this point I asked myself a question: "Can I make this product already at the place where the material originates?" My ambition to push things further led me to alienate the process by which bees make their almost mathematically precise honeycomb structures and direct it to create a fragile and valuable object – like a pearl. This takes time and time creates value.

“Not meaning it as an euphemism, I called this process "slow prototyping". It took 1 week and around 40.000 bees to create a honeycomb vase."


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Dezeen's coverage of Milan 2007 is brought to you in conjunction with the International Design Forum. Visit our IDF blog here.

Posted on Thursday April 19th 2007 at 4:53 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Good old Droog Design! Always great… yet, the credits this time must go to the bees! ;)

  • danseng

    I thought it was creative and original… but a bit sad for the bees. hahaha can’t wait until greenpeace or some other animal activist group starts up a campaign against sweatshop animal labor or something.

  • Lanner K

    I too feel bad for the bees :-(

  • I believe global warming has a lot to do with the disappearance of bees…..all insect and animal species are affected…sad but true.

  • Hello, Im a mature student in design HND and am researching insects as part of a design brief and came across your vase, and I have to tell you it’s amazing. I am working with clay (which I hate) metal wood and other recycicable materials, but you have inspired me with your clever clever idea and I want to say thanks!
    Hope one day a student researching finds a clever design tip from me…….. Pauline.

  • Pauline that’s pretty interesting stuff!

  • Thank you all for your comments on “made by bees” project. It is also in the face of recent articles on honeybee dissappereance in the US that the idea resonates so much. Actually, before starting this project I had no idea about beekeeping at all, not to say that I thought I can make them do something like a design object. Hope it inspires bright minds …
    Studio Libertiny

  • Carlos

    I think that is somw wonderful that bee’s have the ability, and we can see there work. It’s wonderful how nature teaches us to be just as creative with our own minds. I hope the bee’s find there way back to there hives, whatever the problem is.

  • I’ve experimented with using bees as “sculptors” as well:

    Nothing so beautiful as this, though. The use of negative space is brilliant.

  • akram


  • The whole thing is a real departure. If somehow we manage to shrink the bees to nano scale, we will have the nano machine revolution sci-fi has been foretelling for decades.

    Beautifull indeed. I want one.

  • riddlywalker

    wasps work rather well with paper pulp- a more stable material than beeswax- the empty nests are very strange to hold- a solid complex object, but with very little weight…..they are hellishly grumpy to work with though- and expect lots of rotten fruit or jam……..

  • blondiebeegirl

    I have been raising bees for quite a few years. After coming across your vase, I am still amazed at what these creatures can do. How COOL!

  • cyd

    40,000 bees one week a house, then babies, and a place for them all to eat.
    That should have been job done. But no….you are the master of all species and you can do what you like. Kill them, kick em out and use their hard work as an ironic bauble. That is a metaphor for what is so wrong in the world today

  • James

    I'm guessing the vase was an extension of a hive, 40,000 bees wouldnt fit in that vase would they? So they'll still have a hive to live in, just need to add a new extension….