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The bees still buzz

On this project, Squint/Opera worked with artist Wolfgang Buttress to create a series of digital installations and integrated graphic applications for the UK pavilion at the Milan Expo 2015. The behaviour and living environment of bees, and the important role they play as part of the global ecosystem, are at the heart of this spectacular pavilion. Squint/Opera developed the overarching concept; to show swarms of bees with intricate details that come in to focus as visitors get closer. This process of discovery has been applied to every aspect of the visitor journey from the etched wooden and corten steel information points to the small intimate screens located around the orchard showing playful animations of bees.

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We applied a graphic identity to a host of potential products; stationery, textiles, products, menus and digital applications, building a robust identity that fed into the overall concept. To minimise the impact on the natural beauty of the orchard the animations were displayed on small intimate screens viewed through perforations in the timber walls. The animations follow the journey of a bee through the orchard and help to guide visitors through the pavilion. We also designed a bespoke bone conduction device, mimicking the way in which bees communicate via vibrations: the visitor places one end of a small stick into the device and bites down on the other. Interpolated recordings of the bees communicating are conducted through vibrations directly from the stick to the visitor’s inner ear.

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All these unique innovations contributed to an intricate and carefully orchestrated final display, incorporating design with precise technology to form an all-encompassing experience celebrating the vitality of bees within our environment.

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