Recently, I paid a visit to the LEGO House, designed by BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group). It is located in a Billund, a typical, Danish small town, far from Copenhagen. This town is mostly known as the home of the LEGO brick and for the second international airport in Denmark.
Given the idea, that Billund should have such a LEGO House in a central square, it almost had to be designed by Bjarke Ingels / BIG Architects. He often refers to his childhood obsession with LEGO as a background and source of inspiration for his career. And likewise, he just had to design it like an upscaled LEGO set.
LEGO is omnipresent in a typical Danish childhood. And, of course, I had my own obsession with Space- and later Technics-themed LEGO. That was in a past millennium before LEGO Architecture came around…
I was happy to see this project taking shape and have been waiting for the opportunity to go there and see it for myself. And I found it to be pretty much exactly what it should be.
I had hoped to spend a little more time and get some better photos. But on the other hand, I generally expect from architecture that it works in other-than-ideal weather conditions. In Denmark that would be on a rainy day of which we have notoriously many.
I was pleasantly surprised to find the building less spectacular and fantastic than many other BIG projects. It appears from street level as a light structure of white, overlapping blocks. Two sloping / stepped corner roof terraces are featuring bright colours in an intricate geometric pattern. Climbing these stepped roofs to a series of flat roof terraces will reveal other brightly coloured soft rubber-like floors that are not visible from the street level. This gives the building a playful, friendly appeal without overwhelming its surroundings, which is just a clever move.
The most inspiring and impressive is what is not there: spectacle (or at least too much of it).
I find there’s a casual ease to the LEGO House, that could easily have been messed up by a little more fanfare or plain weirdness from more pretentious architects. It’s not the most advanced tune, but it’s played by a master, as with no effort. And yet, maybe it is not actually that simple, but making it seem simple is a hallmark of mastery.
LEGO House – the original
It really was not the weather to get the best impression of the building. But I made up for it by achieving my main objective: Grabbing this exclusive LEGO House LEGO Architecture set, that is exclusively sold in this building. I have badly wanted one for our office (and for my home) for quite a while. Finally, we have it on display.
The LEGO set reflects what most would regard as the fundamental unique quality of the LEGO bricks as a toy: imagination is the limit. It is a modular, additive system of simple, basic shapes, that can become anything. For a long period, this basic quality was more or less compromised with more and more specialised sets and pieces. To compete with other non-reconfigurable toys, I suppose.
Consisting of only standard pieces, and very ingeniously put together, this set also represents a back-to-basic approach that true LEGO fans appreciate worldwide. Well, at least by one in Copenhagen!
Now, as far as I know, we’re the only place in Copenhagen to offer guided tours of the LEGO House! So, please come and see it for yourself!