Bee Home by SPACE10 and Tanita Klein

“I want people to design a dream home for bees that provides the perfect environment for their offspring, while at the same time being incredibly easy to design, assemble, and place,” says Copenhagen-based designer Tanita Klein. In celebration of the United Nations’ World Bee Day—today, May 20—Klein collaborated with IKEA’s design lab SPACE10 to provide open-source plans that allow anyone to make their very own residence for bees.

The Bee Home is composed of stacked blocks of wood, and the website guides you through the design process. You decide your bee home’s height, number of stories, and how it will interface with your home’s rooftop, garden, or balcony. 

The Bee Home can be set up nearly anywhere outdoors. By provide open-source designs, SPACE10 and Tanita Klein hope to raise awareness around bees’ impact on the environment and our daily lives.

The Bee Home website takes you through an easy step-by-step design process. Choose your home’s height, how many stories it will have, and whether it will sit directly on the ground, be hammered into soil with a single steak, or perch on stilts.

After choosing a design and registering your info, an interactive map shows you makers in your area. They’ll manufacture the parts, and then you put them together like Lincoln Logs.

After going through each simple step, you can register with the website to add yourself to an interactive map of bee hosts, makerspaces, and bee advocates. Dragging on the map and zooming in on your city reveals those around you who’ve registered their designs, and allows you to phone or email makers in your area who can fabricate (using a downloadable file) and deliver the parts of your smart-looking bee home.

“It was important for me that Bee Home is aesthetically pleasing and almost feels like you’ve added a sculpture to your garden or your balcony,” says Klein. “This project really exemplifies how design can do good for both people and their environment.” SPACE10’s director Kaave Pour doubles down on the earth-first sentiment. “Our home is more than just four walls—our home is also the planet we live on,” he says.

Any local makerspace with a CNC milling machine can help you fabricate your design.

The designs don’t require any hardware—simply stack them together following instructions provided by the website.

Bee Home’s 2020 release feels especially poignant. Pollinator populations are in peril due to the rapidly changing climate and direct human impact—like loosened restrictions surrounding pesticide use. Additionally, according to a report from the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, we rely on bees for one third of our global food supply.

So go celebrate Bee Day 2020 by designing a bee home. And after you’ve received the pieces and put them all together, there’s just one last thing to do. “The final step,” reads the website, “is to place your Bee Home and plant some flowers.” 

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