An open-source IKEA design is causing a buzz among environmentalists.

Whilst we grapple with an epidemic of our own, the world of the bumblebees has been in the midst of its own for several years; the very real issue of ‘colony collapse’ an increasing concern for our stripy honey-loving friends. A vital component of our ecosystem for millions of years, their existence is our existence. Their survival is critical.

Look at it this way: research by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) shows that nearly 90% of all flowering plant species in the world depend on animal pollinators. That includes roughly one third of the worlds food supply. The most important pollinators on our planet, the future of the humble bee has been threatened by rampant development, destroying their homes with our homes; monoculture farming; pesticides, chemicals, climate change and the typical heavy-handedness of humankind.

Of course, education is key, and we should all be more actively understanding our impact upon the world that sustains us. But once we grasp the significance of a fully functioning bumblebee ecosystem, what can we do? That is where SPACE10 enter the picture. An independent research, development and design lab—funded by and dedicated entirely to IKEA—the Copenhagen-based project has collaborated with designer Tanita Klein and studio Bakken & Bæck in launching Bee Home; a free, open-source design dedicated to preserving the world’s biodiversity.

A digital platform that allows you to design, customise and download for fabrication your own solitary bee house (they’re the most prolific pollinators of the bee world, capable of providing as much pollination as 120 honeybees), Bee Home allows you to give back to the ecosystem that supports you. With every female solitary bee being a queen, capable of having anywhere between 20-30 offspring, your custom bee house could quickly be home to hundreds of giants in the world of pollination.

Designed to be used with local hardwoods—meaning each design can be created as locally sourced as possible—your entire Bee Home can be assembled without nails or additional materials; easily recyclable and built on circular design principles. Simply download your design and head to a local makerspace, where a CNC milling machine will make your new bee house a reality. Plant some flowers nearby and nature will do the rest; your contribution to the planet taken care of.

Beautifully designed and innovative, SPACE10’s open-source Bee Home is another inspired example of how creativity can influence important change.

By James Davidson