Bee Home: Create a home for solitary bees with a free and open-source design from SPACE10

SPACE10, a research and design lab who work on behalf of IKEA, have launched Bee Home — a free and open-source design for bee homes that enables anyone, anywhere, to support their local pollinators and take action in preserving the world’s biodiversity.

Each Bee Home – which is designed to house the most prolific pollinator, solitary bees – is expected to give life to hundreds of solitary bees, offering a link in the chain that can contribute to the survival of flowers, trees, animals and our ecosystems as a whole.

For the open-source Bee Home design, SPACE10 took into consideration three main factors – the needs of bees; sustainability and the availability of local resources; and the creation of a modular design so each Bee Home can be different.

Unlike honeybees, solitary bees do not live in hives or produce honey. Instead, they mostly live alone, and spend their days gathering pollen and collecting food for their next generation of offspring. A single solitary bee can provide as much pollination as 120 honeybees.

Most solitary bees live in holes burrowed into either trees or into the ground, so Bee Home was designed with these natural inclinations in mind, made with holes for each bee to store food and provide shelter for the eggs they lay.

SPACE10, who collaborated with designer Tanita Klein and design studio Bakken & Bæck on the project, also designed the bee home with sustainability, circular design principles, and local resources in mind.

Bee Home can be designed and built with local hardwoods – whether it be untreated oak, larch or mahogany – so each design’s fabrication can be as locally sourced as possible. The entire design can be assembled without any nails or additional materials, so it is easy to recycle.

Made to be as accessible as possible so anyone, anywhere can build a bee home, its assembly doesn’t require tools of any kind. Inspired by Japanese wood joinery and a few tricks in carpentry, 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.

Each of the sixteen storeys of Bee Home is designed differently. The modular design allows anyone to shuffle and randomise the order of storeys, arranging them in any number of combinations you find most pleasing. While the design is streamlined through certain ‘aesthetic parameters’, each Bee Home anyone chooses to design will be uniquely their own.

SPACE10 said: “Bee Home is a free and open source design that aims to pioneer a new era of democratic design for SPACE10.

“This project takes advantage of the newest developments in digital fabrication and parametric design and introduces entirely new distribution methods to enable a fully democratic design process — where everyone, everywhere, is empowered to be part of designing, customising and fabricating their very own Bee Home locally.”

Images: Irina Boersma

Bee Home

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com

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