Last week I wrote about Lene Wille’s beautifully minimalist installation Metaphorical Horizons and since then I’ve had a number of Lego enthusiasts contacting me about work which they’ve made using the small plastic brick. One piece which really caught my attention was these incredibly detailed houses by Lego artist Mike Doyle. Mike’s sculptures are an incredible testament to both Lego, and his skill and patience. His largest and most recent construction Victorian on Mud Heap (above), uses nearly 130,000 pieces and took about 600 hours to complete.
With true dedication to the project Mike built these without using any foreign materials – there’s no wood, no glue, no paint in these – it’s just pure Lego. It’s a pretty amazing feat of design. Mike’s got a number of ‘making of’ shots on his blog which are worth checking out; I know my first reaction when seeing these were ‘no way, they can’t be real’ so it was wonderful to see some progress shots of them being made. Go check them out!
I have a less then subtle love for LEGO and recently it has been manifesting into a number of blog posts here on the site. What impresses most about the little plastic brick is the level of innovation that seems to come from it. As a material one would imagine that it must be quite limiting to work with, and yet people all around the world seem to be able to turn these little bricks into all manner of weird and wonderful creations.
Take Lene Wille‘s beautifully minimalist installation Metaphorical Horizons for example. Built back in 2005 as a graduate project, the installation is stark and sculptural and yet its use of material makes for something which is both fun and playful. Her aim was to create an installation which could work as both an object and as a space, and through her use of LEGO I think she creates something which is beautiful and restrained while also being inviting and playful.
Metaphorical Horizons was built at the World Trade Center in Amsterdam over a period of 6 weeks, the finished piece being built from 270,000 white LEGO bricks. More details and images from the project can be found online here.
I’ve a lot of love for LEGO, and so when I saw Swedish programmer Hans Andersson‘s Time Twister clock I just knew I’d have to share it. His creation is noisy, slow and indeed the epitome of chunkiness, and yet it’s a beautiful creation.
For me, the raw simplicity of Andersson’s design is really attractive and the way in which his creation goes about slowly-revealing each of it’s digits is almost hypnotic. When I watched the video above, showing his design in motion, I was shocked at how much anticipation and excitement I felt just simply watching the time being revealed.
Hans has also built some other amazing creation including two puzzle-solving robots which are pretty incredible. One can solve sudokus and an other one can solve a rubik’s cube. Both are well worth checking out.
“For Pete’s sake, what are you writing about Lego for?”. If this is your reaction to seeing this post, then move on, keep moving and perhaps think about what you just said. It might mean that we may need to rethink our friendship – I’m sorry but that’s just how it goes!
Seriously though, I find it hard to imagine any reader here who doesn’t take a liking to the wonderful world of Lego. In truth, it’s probably the greatest toy ever made. The other day Lego announced that they’d collaborated with Volkswagen to create a Lego T1 Camper Van and I think they did an incredible job in recreating such an iconic design. While Lego have really captured the essence of the van it’s the enthusiasm of designer John-Henry Harris seen in the video above that made me want to share this with you.
For many, working as a Concept Designer at LEGO seems like a dream-job and it’s enriching to see the enthusiasm that Harris has for his craft. If you’re interested in learning more about the role of play in design then I recommend you check out this excellent TEDxEast talk in which Harris discusses how play is an integral part of any design process. The Camper van itself, will be available October 1, 2011 from the online Lego shop.
You might remember Temujin Doran and his previous film, Facts About Projection, as it was a huge hit and garnered probably hundreds of thousands of views. Well he’s got a new video out which was created for Lego called Build Anything and it’s totally cute and charming. This time he’s gone around London replacing familiar objects with Legos instead, making the face of Big Ben, a boat on the river or the all too familiar red phone booth. The idea reminds me a bit of what Christoph Niemann did with his I Lego N.Y. project but I feel like Temujin has takena more literal approach to the idea. Just a cute, simple idea for an equally cute and simple product.
Did I mention that today is all video day? Cuz’ it is. I don’t usually like to post videos more than once every couple days but I kept finding videos that were really exciting, so here we are. This video above by LEGO, which was created for their Lego CL!CK site, might be my favorite of them all though.
It’s a short film about a man who’s trying to figure out how to make a man fly by himself. But he’s struggling through a creative block until the literal blocks fall upon his table and turn into a factory of ideas. He searches through the factory, trying to find his idea until he finally comes upon it.
The story is told entirely through stop-motion, or something like it, and almost has an Amélie vibe to it. But there’s also a bit of Wallace and Gromitt-esque humor to it as well, that makes you kind of grin to yourself while you watch it. I also think it’s great that hte factory is filled with all kinds of ideas, represented in different sizes depending on how complex they are. The best example is the idea of world peace, which is a giant light bulb sitting in a courtyard, still yet to be completed. But then there are smaller ideas, like the idea of peanut butter pasta… blech.
Muji, minimalist makers of everything under the sun, have teamed up with everyone’s favorite toy Lego to create new creative packs that are distinctly in touch with their brand. These sets feel like they’re more in the spirit of how Legos used to be, strictly based on a persons creativity. Nowadays all you see on the shelves are packed sets with instructions on how to make something, which to me takes all the fun out of it.
Muji has decided to combine the blocks with brightly colored paper and a hole puncher, giving these sets an entirely new dimension. They come with some pre-cut designs, I would assume to get you thinking, but other then that it’s all up to you. Lego needs to get their act together and start making more like this and less Indiana Jones playsets.
When I was a little kid I used to make mazes for rolly pollys out of Legos. I’d spend half an hour constructing them, making dead ends and giving only one exit out. Except the bugs were assholes and wouldn’t go through it, even though there was always delicious grass at the end, which all bugs love, right?
Anyway, Lego announced that they’re starting a new massively multiplayer online game called ‘Universe’. From the very brief press release, you’ll be able to create your own character and explore a fully Lego-ized world. Whether you can actually build your own buildings and the such remains to be seen. But overall the idea sounds like it could be really fun and offers a lot of promise.
P.S. That is TV on the Radio up there. They were created by minifig, and you can see more here.