UK Pavilion Expo Milano 2015

Milan, Italy Milan / Italy / 2015

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The 2015 Milan Expo brought together 145 participating nations under the theme “Feeding the Planet: Energy for Life” from May – October 2015. The UK Pavilion highlights the plight of the honeybee and was designed by artist Wolfgang Buttress in collaboration with engineers Simmonds Studio and architectural practice BDP.


Pollination is an essential process, underwriting at least a third of our food production, yet the honeybee is in crisis. The design team worked with bee-expert Dr. Martin Bencsik, drawing inspiration from his innovative research.


Visitors meander through an orchard, discover a wildflower meadow and enter ‘the Hive’, a sculpture which glows and hums -simulating conditions in a real beehive. Signals from a bee colony in Nottingham are streamed in real-time to the UK Pavilion in Milan, activating a lighting-array and soundscape. ‘The Hive’ acts as a medium or interface, conveying the activity of bees at a specific point in time.


The experience is entirely external and is intended to be quiet, almost subliminal. The meadow is raised to eye-level giving a kind of ‘bees-eye view’ of the wildflowers. The aim is to impart a sense of being within nature, to foster a sense of empathy, humility and connectedness. Multiple routes and places allow the visitor to explore and participate in the curation of their own journey. The pavilion reinterprets apiarian ecology as an immersive multisensory experience, leaving visitors with a lasting flavour of the British landscape.

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    The 2015 Milan Expo brought together 145 participating nations under the theme “Feeding the Planet: Energy for Life” from May – October 2015. The UK Pavilion highlights the plight of the honeybee and was designed by artist Wolfgang Buttress in collaboration with engineers Simmonds Studio and architectural practice BDP. Pollination is an essential process, underwriting at least a third of our food production, yet the honeybee is in crisis. The design team worked with...

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