Designed by Cyrus Calosing, Carl Abad, Fayiaz Chunara + Robert Sangster

Hive Talk

Hive Talk is one of five central common spaces conceived for the Toronto Interior Design Show 2018 under the show’s theme of “Future Fantastic” on an extremely limited budget. The strategy for the design of the five spaces was not to predict the future but rather to provide environments that enable the creativity, conversations and collaboration that ultimately shape the future – environments that will encourage thought that pushes the envelope and inspire disruptive, revolutionary ideas. A core belief behind the strategy is that collaboration is essential; that contrasting, parallel points of view are needed to push the world forward. Each design team was asked to choose a contrast to address as part of their exploration: One & Many, Open & Closed, Quiet & Loud, Alone & Together and More & Less. Hive Talk investigates the contrast of Alone & Together.

Conceptually, Hive Talk was approached as an art installation with a space design challenge, allowing the design team to both thoughtfully address the strategy and embrace the tiny budget. This resulted in an immersive, unsettling counterpoint to the feel of the style-conscious, expensive spaces displayed throughout the trade show.

Hive Talk is a space designed to highlight the perceptions of the individual existing within a hive mentality through sculpture, space and sound.

Inspired by the honeybee and the hive that a colony of bees creates as a home, Hive Talk is a unique, multi-sensory experience that uses unconventional materials to immerse the user in its concept. Copper scrubbing pads were chosen for their beautiful shimmer and unravelled to create hanging hive sculptures throughout the space. The service bar was covered in food delivery bag insulation material that had the appearance of a honeycomb and walls were covered in cellophane and hexagonal fencing wire. The sculptural works referenced the macro view of the hive while the walls and bar referenced the micro view of the more solitary honeycomb. Video cameras peppered the walls, reminding users that in a hive, you are always being watched and controlled.

Sound was an integral part of the installation. Unsettling soundscapes were designed to guide users into specific areas and to avoid other spaces; another example of collective control. This was accomplished by stagger placement of speakers that emitted a droning hum interjected with voices captured by microphones hidden within the space.

The multi-disciplinary design team, assembled purposefully for their diverse backgrounds and points of view, was led by a Biotech Researcher who is currently developing new technologies to treat cancer. The team’s memorable approach used macro and micro hive references to allude to the human desire to feel connected through community and values, while desiring at the same time to be one’s own person and maintain privacy. Clearly a space designed to make one think, Hive Talk encouraged those who experienced it to reflect on the parallels between a hive mentality and our collective consciousness as the world moves forward.