vanessa harden, kevin hill + ben faga: built by...
vanessa harden, kevin hill + ben faga: built by... vanessa harden, kevin hill + ben faga: built by...
oct 08, 2010

vanessa harden, kevin hill + ben faga: built by...


‘built by…’  is a collaboration between industrial designer kevin hill, concept designer vanessa harden, artist ben faga and well… honeybees! the three came together to create a new design process that allows them to collaborate with the buzzing insects to create bespoke furnishings.

ben faga aligning the spindles along the hiveimage courtesy of vanessa harden



a custom-made ‘playground hive’ was designed, in which the bees can build, attached but separate from their home and nursery. this arrangement allows the ‘built by…’ team to craft furniture without removing the integral structures of the honeycomb.

the beehive playgroundimage courtesy of vanessa harden


the trio’s first venture is an edwardian-styled baby crib. it has been chosen as the inaugural product to reflect the purpose of the honeycomb itself – bees use combs to rear their young. it also symbolizes the hope of a future pairing between humankind and the environment, in an attempt to create products that shape cultural values moving towards a sustainable future. by creating this physical and visual relationship with the bees, the designers believe the crib will foster a form of sensitivity and understanding of the child’s place within the greater ecological organism that is our planet.

checking the honeycomb’s processimage courtesy of vanessa harden



the beehives used in the process are located on the roof of the artists’ studio in london. the bees forage from the local community to source materials needed to create what will eventually become the baby’s crib. the ongoing project embraces the natural process, and will be further developed over the next 12 months, as it transforms into the hive-crafted crib.

busy bees at workimage courtesy of vanessa harden


the first spindle displayed is coated with a metal and composite spray, reflecting the designers’ continuous investigation of solidifying the underlying hive structure. a second spindle illustrates an exploration into the construction of the honeycomb being conducted by the bees themselves.

first spindle on display at designersblock 2010image © designboom

a first phase of ‘built by…’ was exhibited in the selfridges wonder room. the second presentation was recently on show at designersblock during london design week 2010. an early version of the project entitled ‘shrine to humankind: a collaboration between insects and humans’ was also shortlisted as part of the designboom competition ‘design for all’ in collaboration with seoul design foundation.

image © designboom



also on show at designersbock were hand-screen printed wallpaper and wrapping paper with a metallic silver and gold texture printed directly from the honeycomb. alongside the paper was a display of raw, unfiltered honey packaged in amber glass jars, each containing a piece of honeycomb straight from the hive.

image courtesy of vanessa harden

installation view at designersblockimage courtesy of vanessa harden

installation view at designersblockimage courtesy of vanessa harden

drawing of the first product — a baby’s cribillustration by minho kwon

installation view at designersblockimage © designboom

designers kevin hill and vanessa hardenimage © designboom


  • why are they hugging each other?

    maja says:
  • Aganetha Dyck has been drawing with bees for the last 15 years or so in Winnipeg Manitoba Canada… what is new?

    YWG says:
  • perhaps they are hugging because they plan on making a baby to go in that deranged baby crib. I can see how this process could be interesting in many ways but a baby crib ,which I supose they wanted to draw a correlation between a human babies crib and a bee nusery, it just doesn’t do it for me.

    skd says:
  • you should se the similar project of Francois azambourg made in 2005….

    raph says:
  • ummmmm…

    erdiana kartikasari says:
  • huh?? what?? tell me why is this creative?

    j says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

design news

keep up with our daily and weekly stories
492,671 subscribers
- see sample
- see sample