Created by Ant Studio, Beehive is a functional-art alternative to energy intensive cooling and air purification solutions. The system works through evaporative cooling, using traditional earthenware pots which are soaked with water. With use, biofilm forms naturally on these pots, assisting with air purification. The modular design is also zero-plastic and zero-emission, and is perfectly suited to cool down outdoor working conditions in the city.
What’s your story?
‘I am Monish Kumar Siripurapu ,a practicing Architect from New Delhi. I graduated from the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), Delhi in 2009 and went on to start Ant Studio in 2010. The core intent of my work is to bridge the spheres of Art, architecture, technology and nature, hence the name for the firm: ANT- Architecture, Nature & Technology. My team’s endeavour is to produce simplistic, almost intuitive design solutions and use technology, whether it is computational design, robotics or mechanics as a tool towards realising the design. The integrity towards nature and the authenticity of materiality is of utmost importance to us.’
“Beehive is a testimony that innovative, informed design can incorporate traditional air cooling methods with modern technology for a sustainable, zero emission, zero plastic and inexpensive alternative.”
How did your project come about?
‘A client of ours, the factory of Deki Electronics in Noida, asked for our help to find a solution for the extreme heat generated in the driveway to the factory by a generator set placed at the factory entrance. This caused a major exposure of heat and pollution to the workers in an environment where temperatures already tend to touch 40 degrees Celcius. The workers had to run through the driveway to enter the factory. Not only do sweltering employees lose enthusiasm and productivity, excessive heat can also take a toll on their health and wellbeing. Therefore, there was a dire need to come up with an economical solution to ease the burden of workers who find themselves in these perilous situation.’
What was your reaction to finding out your project had been selected?
‘We are absolutely elated that our effort in designing a simple solution to a persisting problem has been recognised by the jury. We feel an additional sense of responsibility to forge our way forward to make meaningful progress on going to the market with our solution. We are very eagerly hoping that thru this challenge, our story can be heard by everybody.’
In your opinion, why is creativity important in climate action and the transition to clean energy?
‘With planet’s average surface temperature rising every year by 0.9 degrees, we have now reached what we call the cooling paradox. The warmer it gets, the more energy is used to cool our spaces. Beehive is a testimony that innovative, informed design can incorporate traditional air cooling methods with modern technology for a sustainable, zero emission, zero plastic and inexpensive alternative. With water as the coolant for our air cooling system we eliminate the very choice between thermal and environmental efficiency.’
WHERE IS BEEHIVE TODAY?
The team has successfully installed Beehive in 20 different locations, including factories and new builds. Among their biggest challenges is the need to standardise the manufacturing process, which is fully dependent on local potters and craftsmen. Still, the start-up continues to grow and inspire both artists and energy pioneers in India, with strong interest in the project coming from both the private and public sectors. To follow their journey, check out their latest blog posts here.
IMPACT & DEVELOPMENT
The lasts 25 years — longer than any air conditioner — and consumes only 30% of energy by comparison.
The team has grown from three to seven full-time employees since starting the Challenge programme.
The start-up has placed 20 products with 150 enquiries, targeting new & existing buildings.
They have raised 40,000 USD for research & development.