Some lucky honeybees are now living in designer hives in Milan, the fashion and financial capital of Italy.

This is all part of a project mixing art with biodiversity. The shape of the hives is the art form, and these hives were designed by international artists. The biodiversity is provided by the stars of the show—the bees, also known as the pollinators of Milan’s expanding green spaces.

This unique project is the creative brainchild of Claudia Zanfi, whose goal it was to create an intersection point between biodiversity and artistic language.

Urban Beehives is a redevelopment project of urban green by reintroducing bees in the city, according to Zanfi. There is nothing new about having bees in the city, but what is new is the concept of creating a public space for them.

The Urban Beehives project has cultivated a bee collective by introducing 17 new bee colonies around the city that were designed by artists. Approximately 1 million bees were introduced to their new designer hives on Earth Day 2021.

Speaking of Earth Day, this unrelated 3:49-minute video by ScienceatNASA shares how NASA Science Art Director Jenny Mottar discovered the inspiration that lies behind the 2021 NASA Earth Day poster she created.



The new home of these hives is in Cascina Merlata Park, where they have received 50 acres (20 hectares) of new park that was dedicated last year. The land was previously used for Expo 2015 World’s Fair.

It was only two years ago that the Rome-based Food and Agricultural Organization announced that declining bee populations posed a threat to nutrition and global food security.

This was a prize-winning project seven years ago and was aimed at educating the public about how critically important bees are to the environment while also producing some sweet honey and expanding their population. It was recognized as one of the largest urban bee collectives in Europe, and hives were placed in four public parks in the city.

Zanfi’s Green Island group will start offering beekeeping courses and workshops at the park next week, as well as educating about how bees help maintain a healthy planet. 

Showcasing the bees as valued recipients of designer accommodations may also help to raise the perceived value of bees in the minds of people since 'designer anything' is considered costly and special.

This is a wonderful way to bring bees into the awareness of the population. It should make the task of educating people about the vital importance of bees to the planet and to humanity that much easier.