Wolfgang Buttress beehive design chosen to represent UK at Milan Expo 2015

Wolfgang Buttress An artist's impression of Wolfgang Buttress's winning design for the UK pavilion at the Milan Expo 2015

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The winning design for the UK pavilion at next year's Universal Expo was inspired by the honeybee, its creator has said.

Nottingham artist Wolfgang Buttress will represent the UK with his design - the Hive - at the six-month event in Milan, which starts in May 2015.

He said it will "buzz" with the noise of a real bee colony.

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Wolfgang Buttress

The hive is a barometer for the health of the earth”

End Quote Wolfgang Buttress Artist

A £6m contract to build the structure has been awarded to York-based Stage One and London's RISE.

Visitors will walk through a fruit orchard and enter a natural wildflower meadow. As they near the centre of the meadow a golden orb made of fine steel lattice, based on the design of a honeycomb, will come into view.

Mr Buttress said: "My wish is for visitors to engage with the UK pavilion as a whole and for the hive to be recognised as a barometer for the health of the earth, drawing parallels between a hive and human society."

Commissioner General of the UK for the Milan Expo, Hannah Corbett, praised the "elegant" design's "strong ecological orientation".

The UK pavilion at the last Universal Expo in Shanghai 2010, designed by Thomas Heatherwick, won gold for best design.

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