IKEA’s research and design lab SPACE10 has teamed up with Bakken & Bæck and designer Tanita Klein to launch an open-source Bee Home. The designs are available for free on the official site, which you can even customize and later download the design files to build it locally. This project is an example of how great design can directly impact the way we inhabit and engage with the Earth.
Ph. Brendan Austin
Bees are essential for all life on our planet–including a third of all human food–but they are under increasing threat of extinction due to human impact. Nearly 90% of all flowering plant species in the world depend on bees and other pollinators. We cannot imagine a world without these creatures, but the way things are going, we may soon have to.
Humans are unwittingly destroying their homes and habitats. Climate change and our intensive use of pesticides and monocultural practices in farming have put bee populations under threat of extinction. According to the UN, we are heading towards a catastrophic collapse of our planet’s ecosystems.
The Bee Home is specifically designed for the Solitary Bee, the most prolific pollinator species of bees. Solitary Bees do not live in hives or produce honey. Instead, they exclusively spend their days gathering pollen, and are friendly guests, as they do not have a honey hive to protect–male solitary bees don’t even have a sting.
First, the designers committed to an extensive research on the needs of the bees. Every design decision—from the elimination of glue and other toxic adhesives, down to the specific dimensions of the holes—has been designed to optimize how at home bees will feel. Second, the Bee Home is designed in one material, without the need of nails or additional materials, to ensure it’s both simple to assemble and easy to recycle. Third, Bee Home doesn’t require tools of any kind. Inspired by Japanese wood joinery, the multiple storeys of the Bee Home are actually locked together through a ‘spine’ and ‘key’ system that maintains the home’s structural integrity while making it incredibly easy to assemble and dismantle.
Bee Home takes advantage of the newest developments in digital fabrication and parametric design, and explores entirely new distribution methods, to enable a fully democratic design process. Once you finished your design, you download the design files for free and get it made on a CNC milling machine, which are publicly available in almost every major city in the world. On the Bee Home site, you can find maker spaces in your local area if you need help.
DESIGN TEAM: SPACE 10, Bakken & Bæck and Tanita Klein / YEAR: 2020 / PHOTOS: Brendan Austin, Irina Boersna TEXT: Adapted from the Press Release by NESS