Weltmuseum Vienna, exhibition "Fruits of Labour" by Maximilian Prüfer


We are pleased to announce our Collaboration on the inspiring art installation with artist Maximilian Prüfer and lighting designer Sebastian Hepting promoting awareness of global insect decline

Symbolising the urgent need for awareness about insect decline, this installation consists of 1099 laboratory glasses. Without the crucial work of pollinators, both our food security and the existence of numerous plant species are at risk, creating a potential threat to all life on earth.

In a compelling display, German conceptual artist Maximilian Prüfer and lighting designer Sebastian Hepting have partnered with us to construct a chandelier of 1099 glass tubes filled with honey. This remarkable work of art and design stands as the centrepiece of the "Fruits of Labour" exhibition at Vienna's Weltmuseum, a prestigious institution recognized globally for its dedication to world culture and anthropological exploration.


German artist Maximilian Prüfer’s profound creations delve into the anthropocene's human influence on nature and spotlight its global implications. His work primarily focuses on the interconnection of three spheres: nature, animals, and humans, emphasising humanity's inherent ties to nature despite our modern detachment.

Prüfer's art addresses an array of ecological concerns, including bee extinction and its severe threat to biodiversity, largely stemming from consequential political actions in China during the mid-20th century. His "Fruits of Labour" exhibition provides a stark depiction of the human effort required to offset biodiversity loss.

Prüfer's journeys to China’s Sichuan province unveiled a startling reality - a valley devoid of insects and birds, where manual pollination was the only means of fruit tree propagation. This ecological imbalance, a tragic consequence of the "Great Leap Forward" campaign initiated by Mao Zedong, led to failed harvests and widespread starvation. Its effects persist to this day.

Showcased in the "Fruits of Labour" exhibition are Prüfer’s photographic works, "Performance - Hand Pollination" and "From Flower to Flower". These pieces serve as an ode to human adaptability, highlighting our capacity to fill in for pollinators like bees in the delicate process of fruit tree pollination.


The collaboration between us and Maximilian Prüfer began after Manuela Szewald, CEO and Creative Director of KAIA, intrigued by an interview with the artist, explored his work in Vienna. Their shared passion for sustainability and harmonious coexistence with nature forged their partnership.

HIVE, the resulting lighting sculpture, is a tribute to the now-extinct bees and wild bees. It's a stunning piece of art that glows with a warm, honey-yellow light. Its sequences of light and shadow, inspired by the natural behavior of bees in nests, create a calming, almost hypnotic effect.

The installation incorporates 1000 laboratory glasses filled with honey and 99 additional lamps encased within delicate glass tubes, also filled with honey. Thanks to custom lighting technology, each light can be individually controlled, creating captivating, subtle changes in light color. The chandelier's movement patterns mirror the "shimmering effect", a defence mechanism used by bees against enemies like hornets. This rapid form of communication within the bee society has been artistically replicated in the installation, offering viewers an immersive and soothing experience.

The HIVE lighting installation stands as a tribute to bees and the now extinct wild bees, simultaneously raising an alarm about the worldwide insect decline, which puts our food systems, nature's balance, and human survival at risk.

Sebastian Seibold, a Senior Scientist at the Ecosystem Dynamics and Forest Management Group at the Technical University of Munich Dresden, provides some insight in a conversation with Maximilian Prüfer. Seibold states: "From everything we know, there is not one great cause and therefore there is also not one simple measure. We have to act on different levels in order to maintain insect diversity as well as biodiversity in general. One big factor is climate change; we really have to do everything in order to reduce climate change. The second big factor is the availability of habitats. For decades and centuries we have massively changed most habitats, and many species have lost a large proportion of their natural habitat. Now we need to create more habitats.“


KAIA means both light and shade. We love to unite opposites.

Manifesting our philosophy through collaborations with European designers and artists, our creative fusion results in distinctive, high-quality lighting objects, each a testament to the brand's commitment to craftsmanship and design.

Sustainability lies at the core of our operations. Emphasising natural and reusable materials. We supports a circular economy in design, opting for products that reduce waste and promote repairability. Our carefully selected suppliers adhere to responsible sourcing and low or zero-waste manufacturing.

Every product from KAIA is an antithesis of mass production. We meticulously handpick artisans and family-run workshops based in Europe whose ethos aligns with their own, ensuring each piece is a reflection of timeless design and artisanal expertise. Our's values embrace the harmony of art, construction, and craftsmanship. We create objects exuding functional beauty, simplicity, and elegance. Each component, whether glass, marble, or metal, undergoes thorough quality control before assembly in our German workshop. Prioritising environmental consciousness, we predominantly use brass and avoids plastics. Their commitment to eco-friendly practices ensures all their procedures and workshops adhere to environmental laws.