Nested Hive, Eastway Regional Recreation Center

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Client: Arts & Science Council

Location: Charlotte, NC, United States

Completion date: 2020

Project Team

Project Management and Design Maximization

METALAB

METALAB

Installation

Merge Studios

Merge Studios

Overview

Nested Hive’s form is inspired by the whimsical idea of a giant hive or nest that has split open after falling from a tree, allowing visitors to enter after the insects have left the structure to find a new home. The sculptural pavilion is formed from an array of parametrically defined cross-sectional slats of Ipe that are connected and colored one side by panels of painted steel to provide accented counterpoints to the natural finish of the Ipe. The colors are based on floral hues that most attractive to pollinating insects. The organic, parametric nature of the sculptural pavilion creates interesting undulating surfaces and “carved out” voids to provide ample, informal seating and nook spaces for children and adults to discover.

As the play sculpture tapers towards one end, the parametric slats create a pattern of concentric organic contours as viewers enter the structure, evoking the beautiful layering of colors in wasp and hornet nests that are made from various plant fibers. This composition also suggests colorful concentric quilt patterns made from different fabrics – a metaphor that celebrates the diverse community of Mecklenburg County and the unity of different ethnic and cultural traditions.

Goals

Nested Hive is a play sculpture that celebrates not only bees, but all the primary insect pollinators of nature. The title of the artwork not only refers to beehives, wasp nests, and hornet nests, but also describes the design of sculptural pavilion and how it sits or “nests” within the context of a “pollinator garden.”