Tomáš Libertíny on beeswax

18.11.20. Internet

Tomáš Libertíny is an artist and designer, who was born in Slovakia but currently lives and works in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. He burst into the wider consciousness with his Honeycomb Vase during Milan’s Design Week in 2007. For the extraordinary piece, Libertiny constructed vase-shaped beehive scaffolds and, essentially, let nature take its course, in a process he dubbed ‘slow prototyping’. The beeswax work took one week and approximately 40,000 bees to create. It is now in MoMA’s permanent collection in New York.

Since then the designer has worked with a range of other materials, including paper, which he turned on a lathe, ink from Bic biros and hand-welded layers of stainless steel, as well as refining the Made by Bees series.

He has had major solo exhibitions in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Brussels, while his pieces are in the permanent collections of the Cincinnati Art Museum, Corning Museum of Glass and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, to name just a handful.

In this episode we discuss: becoming a chat show host over lockdown; his love of literature; the importance of copying; and how exactly art is like a cat (while design is much more like a dog). But mostly we talk about his relationship with bees – why he came to work with them in the first place and how they are about to collaborate on architectural-scale projects. 

Find out more about Tomáš Libertíny

Libertíny’s Honeycomb Vase is in the permanent collection of MoMA in New York. Image: Raoul Kramer, courtesy of MoMA.

After the bees have done their work.

Over the years his scaffolds have become more complex. Eternity is a 3D portrait of Egyptian queen, Nefertiti. Image: Titia Hahne.

As well as working with bees, Libertíny has also created artworks using the ink from Bic biro pens and wood. This is Bluescape Spring, created in 2017. All images courtesy of the designer.