Built by, a project by Vanessa Harden and Kevin Hill from Wild Flag Studios, creates a new design process that fosters a partnership between honeybees and humans to build bespoke furnishings. Through cross-species collaboration, this project expands the concept of community to encompass different co-habiting species, working together as a creative team.

Linking modern fabrication with the natural environment, this project explores the human and insect design and production processes involved in co-constructing an object. Located across London’s urban parks and gardens, the bees forage and collect pollen and return to the project’s hive to build what becomes a delicate wax structure.

A metal coat is then adhered to the outer surface, thereby straightening the structure and rendering it into functional design. Built by experiments with the possibilities of a new creative process, which results in functional design pieces by a creative team of human and bees.
Competition Brief
"The motto of Seoul international design competition 2010 envisions the realization of an egalitarian society and human values through design proposals that are easy, convenient and pleasant to use, especially in the environment of a contemporary city. As well as product and space, the importance of communication is rapidly increasing and design can bring convenience, safety, equality and pleasure to citizens through establishing a new order between components constituting a city."


Chapter 1 is the manifestation of our hypothesis, which was shortlisted for Designboom's Design for All Competition and was displayed in South Korea for the Seoul Design Fair 2010.

This hypothesis depicts the unification of mankind and nature, emphasizing the essential equality of all creatures and the abolition of prejudice through park furniture. This concept uses the common virtues represented in most religions, particularly those of Altruism and respect, and integrates them into a unique manufacturing process for furniture in public space. The process combines design from humans and detailing from insect colonies.

The furniture is designed and fabricated to be used as a meeting point in public spaces, allowing us to recognise and appreciate the communities that form humanity.

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Chapter 2 was shown on August 26th 2010 at Selfridges’ Wonder Room as part of the Wolf & Badger Summer Residency. Exhibited here was an initial exploration into the the construction of honeycomb onto a form.

A wooden spindle was positioned into the hive where a full standard frame was suspended from it using brackets in an attempt to promote the construction of honeycomb directly onto the spindle. Over the course of 2 weeks the bees then built a comb directly onto the surface of the wooden sample.

Shown at Selfridges was a wooden spindle adorned with honeycomb built by the bees. A live feed, streamed directly from Ben Faga's hive located in Dalston, was projected on a screen located behind the spindle.

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Chapter 3.1 was shown during the London Design Festival (September 23rd-26th) at Designersblock 2010 located at the OXO Tower Bargehouse on the Southbank of London.

The overall exhibition included the latest work from over 100 emerging and established designers from around the world. “Built by” was exhibited showing a spindle adorned with honeycomb built by the bees and coated with a metallic compound, which acted as a strengthener. Alongside the spindle was a second example illustrating a different building process used by the bees. This showed them building and depositing fragments of honeycomb at random.

Chapter 3 progressed from the showing at Selfridges by demonstrating examples of surface finishes as well as a second more fragmented building method used by the bees.

Two illustrators were asked to give their interpretation of what the crib would look like one year on. These illustrations were exhibited next to the spindles. The key interpretation of the final selected to go on display was drawn by Kwon Min-ho.

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Chapter 3.2 was shown at the Victoria & Albert Museum for their monthly Friday Late entitled “Two’s a Pair” on September 25th as an event during the London Design Festival.

In conjunction with Designersblock Two's a Pair celebrated famous design duos and explored collaborations in contemporary design through installations, talks and workshops.

This evening gave us the opportunity to interact with the public and gain feedback on our explorations thus far. The conversations that spawned from this exhibit included talks with with beekeepers, fellow designers and the media and led on to further explorations.

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