Monday, March 26, 2012

Oh, Bee Hive!

Spring is a-busting out all over with blossoms and blooms! The birds are belting out ballads building to a crescendo, and speaking of birds, I think of the bees.  I do hope that the bees are a-buzzing, what with the strange depletion lately of their pollinating population.

How did bees get the pre-programmed idea that the hexagon would be the perfect solution for their hives? Ah, that we could come up with such an elegant solution for our homes! These exceedingly strong structures are masterpieces in engineering that make the most efficient use of space and labor expended. How amazing, that the mathematically optimal solutions are always found in nature, yet we humans continue to struggle to come up with just the right equation.

As always, we return to geometry in our understanding and discipline in art and design.

wild bee hives 

 Austin Powers had it right when he exclaimed, "Oh behave!"

"BEEHIVE" ceiling lamp A331
Alvar Aalto

The natural beehive form inspired Aalto to create this modernist ceiling lamp from back in the day of "Mad Men" design. 

In relation to this subject, though a human invention, I was inspired to fashion a lamp finial from a honey dipper.  I've seen this form used on cabinet pulls, vases, etc.

Everywhere we look, we can find honeycomb/hexagon inspiration.

We see it in numerous shelf designs to stash and store your stuff.

The honeycomb rug pattern adds design interest in its small repetitions of the hexagon shape, providing structure in an open and amorphous interior design.

Janet Lofquist
corten steel
Dedicated September 11, 2009

This sculpture was erected at a Metrolink station nearby my house. Inspired by the idea of community spirit in rebuilding the neighborhood, the artist thought of honeycombs and the bee colony's cooperative efforts in building and maintaining their hives. It is an appropriate symbol for the regeneration of the neighborhood and is very pedestrian friendly.  Frequently children run around it, peer at one another through the cells, and even crawl through the cells.  

Every time I walk or drive by, I think to myself, "Oh, honey!"  I like that the bees have had such a visual impact on our community.  Let us hope that many more hives will prosper in their own livelihood as well!  Buzz on!


  1. Hi Renee,
    I like your essays on shapes. When are you going to comment on daVinci's sketch of a man both encircled and squared

  2. Thanks, Arturo! Yeah, he was fooling around with that stuff...the belief that there was a mathematical basis to beauty and that those rules should apply to the proportions of the human body...'course, that was before everyone started eating fast food!