July 15, 2020
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.
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.
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