The Honeycomb Vase
By Alice Rawsthorn, The New York Times, 12/8/2007
How many workers does it take to make a vase? To devotees of the Arts and Crafts Movement, it’s one. But in the case of the Honeycomb Vase, it’s 40,000 — because the “workers” who made it were bees toiling in their hive.
The vase was conceived by Tomás Gabzdil Libertiny, a young Slovakian product designer. Eager to explore the relationship between design and nature, he settled upon beeswax as a suitable material and chose the vase as an appropriate object to make from it…
Intriguing though the vases are, they’re not likely to revolutionize vase manufacturing. For one thing, they can be made only from April to June, when the bees are at their most productive; for another it takes the bees around a week to make each one. The clincher is that the vases aren’t watertight.
The solid-beeswax vases are, though, and Libertiny is convinced that flowers last longer in them, because beeswax contains propolis, an antibacterial agent that protects against biological decay. “We found out by accident,” he explains. “We had a bouquet, which was too big for the beeswax vase, so we put half of the flowers in a glass vase. We noticed the difference after a week or so.