Design Probes

Far-future research dialogue by Philips Design

The urban beehive is a concept for keeping bees at home. The beehive is designed to allow us a glimpse into the fascinating world of these industrious creatures and to harvest the honey that they produce.

The design of the beehive is unconventional, appealing, and respects the natural behaviour of the bees. It consists of 2 parts: entry passage and flower pot outside, and glass vessel containing array of honeycomb frames, inside. The glass shell filters light to let through the orange wavelength which bees are blind to, so they won’t be disturbed. The frames are provided with a honeycomb texture for bees to build their wax cells on. Smoke can be released into the hive to calm the bees before it is opened, in keeping with established practice.

This is a sustainable, environmentally friendly product concept that has direct educational effect and encourages healthier lifestyle. The city benefits from the pollination, and humans benefit from the honey, the beeswax and the therapeutic value of observing these fascinating creatures in action.
As global bee colonies are in decline, this design contributes to the preservation of the species and encourages the return of the urban bee.

Views: 1737

Comment by Kora on November 12, 2011 at 1:24am

I love this concept and I would gladly buy and trial this product!

Comment by Hugh Stokes on November 21, 2011 at 9:25pm

Does a real one (complete with bees) exist?  Was it designed by anyone with experience of keeping bees?  It looks really cool but I wonder about its practicality.

Comment by Peter Detchon on November 24, 2011 at 2:02am

This is a fantastic concept! Much work still to do, and believe me, as a commercial beekeeper I really do know!

Truly can be described as thinking outside the box. I hope this can be progressed to market, Whatever the drawbacks I would love one in my home, and would happily maintain one for the local school...in fact would even donate one!

Comment by Ing. Ján Onderčanin on November 28, 2011 at 6:10pm

I would like to try in real. Is it possible?

Comment by Jamie Krasnoo on November 28, 2011 at 11:53pm

I'm going to stand by what I have said before about this concept. This should NOT be done. I can't believe I'm reading that a commercial beekeeper endorses this. If you are a commercial beekeeper. It is in my opinion seriously irresponsible. What is to stop a child from opening the hive indoors? What is to stop a child from pulling the rope too much and over smoking the bees either killing them or making them mad? Can it be inspected? I think people are getting wowed by the appearance and not thinking about the inpracticality of it. 

Comment by Adam Miklosi on December 10, 2011 at 3:15pm

I love the concept and the design, I have just one practical question: Should I drill a hole on my window if I would like to use it?

Comment by Drew Johnson on December 16, 2011 at 11:06pm

I only have limited experience keeping bees as a hobbyist, but I've got to agree with Jamie K. This thing looks beautiful but has some serious concept flaws related to actual bees and beekeeping... As mentioned by CharBee there appears to be no means except the tiny entrance hole for gas exchange and removal of debris and waste.  Against a window, the hive wold tend to get warm in the sunlight, without adequate ventilation the adult bees, larvae,  and eggs could be killed.  Also, such a small exit/entrance is overly restrictive for an active hive when the nectar is "on".

Both in the wild and in top-bar and Langstroth hives honeybees prefer for their comb to hang perpendicular to the ground, these "frames" are angled and twisting, more like a paper wasp nest.  Unlike one of the more traditional hive designs, each of the "frames" are uniquely shaped.  Unless you plan to extract a little bit of honey and collect a little bit of wax every time a frame fills, you will need multiples of each of these glass frame blanks on hand.  

It seems like the idea behind this product is for people to be able to collect their own honey and wax.  In order to do this, the customer is expected to smoke the hive, open it, inspect frames, and collect honey and wax... all in the comfort of their urban apartment.  Not one of these activities seems like a good idea.  There is a reason most beekeeping is done outside and urban beekeeping is usually done on rooftops... an apartment full of smoke and bees isn't a good idea.

I applaud the designers for working on the issue of bee decline and a product like this might help encourage education about the importance of bees and beekeeping.  However it does not provide a reasonable means of producing honey of wax for an individual family in an urban environment, nor does it address the real issues leading to the decline in bee populations such as monoculture agricultural practices in the United States and abroad, and irresponsible, industrial beekeeping.  What is needed is support for local and regional  beekeepers by consumers and a return to polyculture farming practices that support the ecosystem instead of rape it.  

Comment by ismael abu zayyad on December 26, 2011 at 6:20pm

it's wonderful if it is all ready in the market how i can get one and how it cost? nice very nice and Creative 

Comment by Patrick G. Lynch on March 29, 2012 at 6:34pm

In order to make this work, you would have to be able to disconnect the hive portion from the wall with the bees still enclosed in the plastic bubble, take it outside to open and inspect, maintain or harvest the combs.  (People with even the highest ideals of saving the bees, will want honey from the hive eventually, I suspect.)  The spiral shape of the combs would probably make inspection and replacement of just a portion of the combs difficult and expensive.   Also you might want to have a way to remove debris from the hive from the bottom of the hive on a regular basis without letting loose allot angry bees into the home.     

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