Where Are The Honeycombs?
If you live in an urban area, you may not observe the various honeycombs around you. No, we don’t mean literal honeycombs! Many engineers and products designer have taken inspiration from bees, using the hexagonal structure that bees use to build their honeycombs in their buildings and products. These structures are all around you, so keep your eyes peeled!
What’s So Special About The Honeycomb Structure?
The honeycomb is typically made of small hexagonal cells, stacked on top of one another. Each cell typically holds either honey or the queen bee’s eggs. For the limited amount of material required to build the honeycomb, it has incredible strength and can withstand a great amount of force.
Humans have taken inspiration from this to build a number of structures, from small furniture to large homes. The material has minimal density and weight, strength under tensions, and is difficult to compress. Honeycomb can be as much as 40 times stronger than laminates in certain scenarios, for instance, and often offers better weight-to-strength ratios. This helps to reduce the cost of structures as well, since less material is being used.
Honeycombs Around You!
Now let’s get to the good stuff. Let’s go on a tour to visit the various honeycomb structures around the world!
#1 Cloud Table by Lorens
The hexagonal shapes of the Cloud Modular Table may not actually bring to mind those fluffy white shapes up in that big blue sky; instead, it happens to look more like the honeycombs in beehives. Designed by Anna and Mark of Lorens, the Cloud Modular Table allows the owner to arrange it however he or she sees fit in regards to the space they are working with. Given the flexibility of its hexagonal shape, it makes for some interesting new ways of working together. It also boasts shallow storage that can hide away any knickknacks easily and conveniently. Its bright yellow colour and innovative pattern are sure to chase away any Monday blues!
#2 Wallbrights by Debra Courtenay
These wallbrights are sure to illuminate both your home and your heart. The little decals may looking unassuming, but are actually embedded with LED lights. Its hexagonal shape allows it to be arranged and customized on a whim. These lights can also be controlled by Bluetooth, allowing you to stay entertained for hours on end. A wonderful addition to your home’s boring walls!
#3 Honeycomb Façade by SuperLimão Studio
Located on the corner of a street in Sao Paolo, this building is sure to catch anyone’s eye. The honeycomb structure was chosen to adorn this furniture store for a number of reasons. Firstly, the honeycomb metal structure would be clearly visible to pedestrians and those who drive past the busy street, drawing attention to the store. The honeycomb cells could be made opaque for privacy. At other cells, the openings could be removed like in the main window in order to incite visitation. Lastly, translucent cells also allowed for natural light to enter the store.
#4 Table Surfaces by Ikea
You may not be a stranger to the excellent, affordable, and lightweight furniture that Ikea produces. However, you may be surprised to find out what’s inside the tabletops of Ikea’s furniture. By using a strong honeycomb pattern paper filling inside some products, furniture can be produced with less raw materials and at the same time reduce the price for people without compromising on quality. What an ingenious solution, thanks bees!
#5 Hivehaus by Barry Jackson
Inspired by the honeycomb, Jackson designed an ultra-compact modular housing system. The hexagonal modules are identical in size and can be joined together at any time to the six sides of the cell. This module cluster of connected units is what is known as a “hive”. Each cell is 9.3 square meters of internal space and is designed to be used for a specific purpose or work/live space, whether it be an office cell, lounge cell, kitchen cell, sleep cell, or bathroom cell. Internal partition walls (with or without pocket doors) can be added or removed to build the space plan you desire. It can be open and airy or it can be divided up into individual spaces. It is easily customizable to fit the owners’ needs.
Due to the interesting shape of each module, it can be prefabricated and delivered to the building site as a flatpack, making even the most remote locations a suitable spot for a home. A single cell can be erected by 2 to 3 people in a day without the need for heavy machinery. An excellent honeycomb-inspired structure to suit different housing needs!
Keep a lookout for these man-made honeycombs in the ‘urban jungle’ around you. Want to find out more about the other products that bees have given us? Click the links below to read more.