Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Hive-Minded: Modern Designs for the Urban Bee

Posted By on Tue, Oct 9, 2012 at 9:30 AM

PHILIP DE LOS REYES
  • Philip de los Reyes

Philip de los Reyes didn't have to read about the Bay Area's obsession with urban beekeeping in the New York Times: it was impossible not to notice that nearly every backyard, roof deck, and patio he visited had a newly acquired hive. The freelance industrial designer, who has also worked with furniture, goods, and even technology, took no issue with the act of beekeeping itself, but rather with the design. 

See also:

Bee Sustainable

The Museum of Craft and Design's New Curator Has California Cred

"People put a lot of thought into their homes," de los Reyes explained. "They are full of carefully chosen pieces. Their backyards are landscaped. Then they add the hive, and here's this clunky structure with boxes that don't even stack properly."

PHILIP DE LOS REYES
  • Philip de los Reyes
In recent years, designers have focused on every aspect of people's lives; even the most commonplace household item, like a whisk, has received a makeover, and yet hives remained unchanged. De los Reyes' experience with honey had been limited to dabbling in jars, but he noticed there was little variety from hive to hive. Research confirmed there are six modern artificial beehives, and among them the Langstroth reigns supreme. Used by over 75 percent of beekeepers, the Langstroth has been the most popular for over 100 years, but de los Reyes continually heard about design flaws, including hives so top-heavy they proved unstable.

De los Reyes was interested in the aesthetic, but after consulting with professional and amateur beekeepers alike, he began to play with the details. "I wanted to mitigate what hinders them," he said, "so ergonomics were a factor. This wasn't just a piece I wanted to show people, but something utilitarian."

PHILIP DE LOS REYES
  • Philip de los Reyes
The result is a sleek, updated Langstroth hive. Interlocking boxes incorporate louvered handles on the exterior, and alternating interior brood and super frames resemble tabbed file folders. The boxes are interchangeable and expandable. The queen bee is separated from the workers, ensuring that the honeycombs remain free of eggs.

The design is still a concept, but the hive has garnered interest since de los Reyes, who lives in San Francisco, first put images on his website. He is certainly open to creating a saleable product, but until then, the public response is encouraging, and he hopes to hear from more prospective users.

"People want to take it home, and that's certainly a compliment."

For events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF and like us on Facebook.

Follow Alexis Coe on twitter @alexis_coe.

  • Pin It

Tags: , , , ,

About The Author

Alexis Coe

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook

Slideshows

  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"