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  • 06.11.10

A Luxury Hotel for London’s Bees. Yes, Bees

Five-star opulence in the works for London’s preternaturally spoiled insects

Bumblebee City

Next week, five new hotels will be completed in London. They will be
the picture of exclusivity, with custom rooms, balconies, and
spectacular views of greenery at every turn. They will cater to the
city’s most loyal tourists, by which we mean, of course, the insects.

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Yes, the insects of London are just days away from fetching up in
five-star opulence. To this we owe Beyond the Hive, a
competition that asks architects to design high-class critter habitats, as part of
London’s celebrations for the International Year of Biodiversity. Five teams were short-listed
recently and started construction on their assorted digs, from a
“Beevarian” chalet to an “Inn Vertebrate.” (Ah, Brits. They’re just
crawling with puns.)

Here’s a rendering of the Inn Vertebrate, designed by Metalanguage
Design
. The inn’s described as a
“boutique bug hotel” in the “fashionable area of Old Street” (in a
cemetery, actually), whose suites have names like the Cardboard Rooms
and the Straw Combs, and come “sumptuously furnished” in terracotta,
bamboo, brick, logs, and moss. It’s the perfect setting for
“illustrious guests,” we’re told — namely lacewings, beetles, spiders,
and bees.

Over in West Smithfield, the landscape designers Fisher Tomlin are hot on the trail of the Jenga
craze
, with five bee
towers (top image). The boxes can be variously configured, whether into a two-story wildlife B&B or a high-rise hotel, to
suit your apian lodgers’ every need.

Below, a sketch of the chalet slated for Cleary Garden. Quaint as can be with planters and eaves

Here’s Arup Associates‘s Insect Hotel, which looks like a Joseph Cornell box. Watch out for the bees, kiddies! 

Starting next week, you, dear reader, can cast a ballot for your
favorite design online. Two Golden Beetle awards will be presented during the
London Festival of Architecture, one to the
winner of the public vote, the other to the winner chosen by a
judging panel, which includes, among other celebrated experts, the Daily Telegraph‘s beekeeping correspondent (their man in honeycomb, you might say).

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Go vote!

About the author

Suzanne LaBarre is the editor of Co.Design. Previously, she was the online content director of Popular Science and has written for the New York Times, the New York Observer, Newsday, I.D.

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