Wolfgang Buttress is leading a UK team to design the British Pavilion at the 2015 World Expo in Milan, the theme of which is “Feeding the Planet Energy for Life”.
The UK pavilion highlights the plight of the honeybee and ways in which new research and technology are helping to address challenges, such as food security and biodiversity. The UK pavilion draws parallels between human societies and the ecology of bees. Visitors meander through an orchard, discover a meadow of wild flowers and enter ‘The Hive’; which pulses, buzzes and glows according to live-streamed signals from a real beehive.
The hive is a 14cm cuboid aluminum lattice structure, raised-up on columns, with a spherical void hollowed from its interior into which visitors can enter.
The fine aluminum lattice is based on an abstracted-analogue of honeycomb, the effect is visually arresting and striking, yet permeable and delicate lending it an ethereal presence.
Accelerometers (vibration sensors) are used to measure the activity of a real bee colony in the UK, feeding real-time signals to a 1,000 RGBW LED light array.
Algorithms are used to convert the bee colony vibrations into the lighting effects. Each light is individually –addressable allowing for the hive to pulse and glow in response to the signals it receives, so acting as a visual representation of bee activity. Acrylic rods conduct light and from the LESs into hand blown glass bulbs which refract and diffuse the light. This unison of light and sound brings together art and science, through the research methods of Dr Martin Bencsik and the vision of Wolfgang Buttress.
(As seen in Mondo Magazine)