The designs are intended to stimulate discussion about sustainable approaches to life at home, proposing innovative and eco-friendly solutions in regard to the use of energy, waste, lighting, preservation of food, cleaning, grooming and human-waste management.

Of the seven concepts in the Microbial Home project, five were shown to the public for the first and last time during the 2011 Dutch Design Week.

The Urban Beehive, which enables beekeeping at home, was one of the most popular concepts. Cleverly designed, the beehive allows people to look into the busy lives of bees as they make their honey, which, of course, can be harvested.

The hive is made up of two parts – an entry passage and a flower pot outside, and a glass container housing an assortment of honeycomb frames. The frames have a honeycomb texture for the bees to construct their wax cells on. A glass shell allows lights to be filtered through the orange wavelength, which bees use for sight. In keeping with convention, smoke can be released into the hive to placate the bees before the hive is opened.

With clear educational qualities, especially for kids, the Urban Beehive is an environmentally friendly concept that benefits both the city, in terms of pollination, as well as humans, who get to enjoy the sweet yield. And as the global population of bees drops, the home hives assist in the preservation of the species.
In addition, bees produce wax and propolis, a resin-like mixture that is believed to inhibit harmful pathogens in the hive, and is also sold as an alternative medicine – an exciting supplementary feature of bee farming that could one day see the Urban Beehive also playing a role in home health.

Curve Issue thirty-eight, 2012
‘Domestic bliss’ by Belinda Stening

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