Designer Luke Pearson on a Found Wasp Nest

The cofounder of London design consultancy Pearson Lloyd contemplates the complex forms of a wasp nest that he found while working on a project.

Pl0 9065 Credit Pearson Lloyd
Courtesy Pearson Lloyd

I rescued this wasp nest from the depths of a loft I was insulating. As a child I watched wasps in the orchard as they would grind away on the wooden garden shed and wondered what it was all about. Eventually I learned that the papier-mâché–like substance produced from wood pulp and their saliva gets transported back to the nest to make these extraordinary, preprogrammed displays of engineering and craft.

What I love about this nest is the contrast between the fluffy curls of the outer skin and the smooth, fortified layers of the interior, which protect the hive and act as vents to control the inside temperature. The strata are separated by structural columns, which form cells the wasps can pass through as they build. A magical structure that, when you look closely, reveals its individual layers that have been so carefully applied. It’s one of my most precious finds.

Pearson Lloyd Portraiture Of Luke Pearson & Tom Lloyd, East London, 2020.
Luke Pearson is a cofounder and codirector of London-based design consultancy Pearson Lloyd. Founded in 1997 with Tom Lloyd, the studio has created products for the home, the workplace, and the transportation and health-care sectors. Recent brand collaborations include furniture for Andreu World and Teknion. Courtesy Mark Cocksedge

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