In close collaboration with SPACE10 and designer Tanita Klein, we created an open-source Bee Home that anyone can customise, visualise and download digitally, before manufacturing it physically at a local makerspace.
What we did
- Parametric web design
- Front end and AR development
- Brand identity and narrative
A parametric web app to save bees
Solitary bees are essential to life on our planet; they form a vital part of our ecosystem and have been shaping our natural environment for millions of years. But now, because of human impact, their place in this world is threatened.
As the designs of the physical Bee Home, the web-based platform and the visual identity were developed in parallel, we committed ourselves to an extensive research process paired with a phase of rapid prototyping.
Bridging physical and digital design processes, we iterated and improved upon ideas quickly, all focused on providing a better experience for both bees and humans.
A simple yet sustainable design process
The design of the web app had to call for local and affordable production, inviting people across the planet to rebalance their relationship with the bees buzzing. Based on our belief that simplicity and sustainability are mutually reinforcing, we made sure that anyone visiting the web-based platform could design a Bee Home in just a few clicks.
Each Bee Home can be customised based on parameters like size, style and desired placement.
Design files can be downloaded and shared with a local makerspace which will provide support with the construction.
Once set up, Bee Homes can be added to a community map, helping makers and advocates connect and share knowledge.
The open-source design files are free to download and easy to use, allowing for flexibility in its sizing and placement, as well as the use of the physical materials.
Custom type, a logo mark, and colours that fit the life of bees
We created a visual identity that rebalances our relationship with the life of bees, applying a playful approach to a serious matter. Inspired by the shape of bees, and the rounded form of their nests and tunnels, we developed a logo mark that is made out of three variable shapes.
Based on this logo mark, we developed a custom typeface that draws further on the arches and tunnels that can be found in the habitat of solitary bees. As bees see the world through the ultraviolet spectrum, we developed a colour palette derived from a specific shade of purple.
We knew different bees are attracted to different kinds of flowers; they all have their favourite routes. As part of the visual language, we built a tool that generates lines corresponding to the bees’ flying patterns.
Visualise your Bee Home in AR
One of the most important technical tasks was making sure people could view the model of their customised Bee Home from all angles, both in 3D and augmented reality (AR). Since both models are based on personal input, we could not generate them in advance. We used Grasshopper and Shapediver to allow one to freely play around with a predefined set of parameters, while being able to view the outcome in a few clicks.
Shapediver provides an AR viewer, but to make it work for our custom user interface and interactions we had to build our own version using THREE.js. To make the AR view work in a web browser, we wrote a web service that converts the 3D model from THREE.js to an iOS and Android specific AR format, making it possible for anyone anywhere to imagine what the Bee Home looks like in their own backyard.
Articles published internationally
Bee Homes registered
Open source files downloaded
“It is particularly interesting how the project combines different disciplines. A unique fusion of tech, design, sustainability, architecture, innovation and service development, which together contribute to creating a comprehensive solution that appears very implemented and authentic.”
— VISUELT JURY