Today, something to complement your sleek, Dutch-designed rainwater harvesting device:
Unveiled as part of Dutch electronics giant Philips’ totally wild and not totally implausible Microbial Home concept — system components include a filtering squatting toilet, a dining room table with a built in evaporative cooler, and, last but not least, a poop gas-powered kitchen island — comes the Urban Beehive, probably the least radical, but no less eco-friendly, element in this "domestic ecosystem that challenges conventional design solutions to energy, cleaning, food preservation, lighting, human waste and healthy lifestyle."
The Urban Beehive is an attempt from Philips, a company best known for flat-screen TVs and home appliances, to streamline and inject a bit of design-y sex appeal to honey-producing, CCD-busting home beekeeping operations — an exercise in countrified self-sufficiency that's really picked up steam over the past couple of years especially among city-dwellers. I’ve featured plenty of nifty beekeeping solutions for style- and space-conscious hive-tenders in this past including Beepods, Bombus Shelters, and perhaps the most modernist of apis abodes, the Beehaus. Still, the Urban Behive is truly the most city-friendly of the lot since you don't necessarily need a back garden or roof deck to access it.
Ideally installed directly against a glass wall or large window, the Urban Beehive is an inside/outside device. Outside, there’s a flower pot and a bee entryway while inside you have a curious-looking tinted glass pod of sorts (it kind of looks like something that Lt. Ellen Ripley would have set fire to with a blow torch) that houses an array of honeycomb frames for bees to do their business on. Explains Philips: “The glass shell filters light to let through the orange wavelength which bees use for sight. The frames are provided with a honeycomb texture for bees to build their wax cells on.” To harvest honey, simply pull a string to release smoke into the shell (this pacifies the bees) and release the top cover. Seems easy enough although I'm having trouble picturing what happens next ...
This is a sustainable, environmentally friendly product concept that has direct educational effects. The city benefits from the pollination, and humans benefit from the honey and the therapeutic value of observing these fascinating creatures in action. As global bee colonies are in decline, this design contributes to the preservation of the species and encourages the return of the urban bee.
Any experienced urban beekeepers care to chime in with their thoughts on this sleek creation?