Live from Milan: this is the best thing we've seen in Milan so far - a vase made by bees.
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."
See all dezeen's coverage of Milan 2007 here