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 behavior of the bees. It consists of two parts: entry passage and flower pot outside, and glass vessel containing an array of honeycomb frames, inside. The glass shell filters light to let through the orange wavelength which bees use for sight. 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 effects. The city benefits from the pollination, and humans benefit from the honey 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.
To make their hives, bees produce wax and propolis, a resinous mixture that varies with the bees’ environment and diet. Propolis has a structural function but is also believed to inhibit harmful pathogens in the hive and is sold as an alternative medicine. Once the health benefits of honey and propolis are better understood, the urban beehive could also have a role in the home apothecary.
Far-future design concepts
The urban beehive is part of the Microbial Home Probe, a far-future design concept. It is not intended as a production prototype nor will it be sold as a Philips product. Like past Probe Design Concepts that have stimulated discussion around a range of issues, this concept is testing a possible future – not prescribing one.