When Adult LEGO Fans first heard about the collaboration between the LEGO Group and IKEA AG, there were hopes for an integrated LEGO Storage System: shelving, storage and display spaces. The response to the first views, after some escaped into the wild last month was mixed.
Ikea have just published a Question and Answer session with the head designers – IKEA’s Andreas Fredriksson and Rasmus Buch Løgstrup who lead the design from the LEGO Group’s side of things. They spoke about the process of the collaboration, and how they arrived at the final products. You can read it, and find the US/Canadian/Euro pricing after the break…
Thanks to Tom from True North Bricks, a Canadian Fan Blog for drawing these to my attention (and sending a copy over). If you have’t read his blog, it’s worth your while: his reviews are particularly detailed, especially in the way he calculates a set’s value.
When the LEGO Group started thinking about a fun, new storage solution, they reached out to IKEA and asked for a playdate.
This first collaborative workshop began when two designers met: Andreas Fredriksson, designer at IKEA, and Rasmus Buch Løgstrup, designer at the LEGO Group.
They immediately started talking about the role LEGO® bricks play in a home, how we store them, and how a floor filled with bricks represents different things depending on who you ask. Here’s what they both had to say:
Andreas: “Playing with LEGO bricks is such a big part of your home, so it was a good starting point to look at the whole home. And we know life at home, and we know storage.”
Rasmus: “LEGO bricks are not something you usually bring when visiting a friend or play with outside. It is so connected to the home. It is a home product. The team first looked into a storage solution, because it answers a parent’s need, but it ended up as more than that. They wanted to find a solution for the whole family. BYGGLEK is more than just a box filled with bricks. The oversized white storage device is also a launchpad for your imagination.
Andreas: “I remember that the discussion started with how we store bricks at home. When I was a kid, LEGO building was very much play for the weekend. We stored all of the bricks in a big blanket. It was wonderful because a huge part of the play was finding the right pieces. It was play or put away. In the work with BYGGLEK, we talked about how you can play and pause without scattering your project all over the floor.”
The team made prototypes out of cardboard, stacked them on top of each other, and decided that the box itself would be something to integrate in the play.
Rasmus: “A child psychologist we had on board said that if we can make a storage device that can be a part of the play, then we will succeed. I remember that IKEA suggested we mold studs on the top of the box. If you asked me then, I would have said it would be impossible. But BYGGLEK ended up being one of the biggest molded items in LEGO history.” The box is made out of the same kind of high-quality LEGO bricks, a material that will last for a very long time.
Andreas: “You know, I still have my LEGO bricks from the 70s. You never throw them away. You keep them or pass them on to the next generation. It is important that BYGGLEK has the same quality and the same feel.”
Speaking of the past. Did you play with LEGO bricks as kids?
Rasmus: “I played a lot with bricks and I loved building cities. I remember when we were away on a holiday, I couldn’t wait to get home to build some of the things I had seen. Once I went to the Alps with my parents and all I wanted to do was get home to start building mountains and train tracks.”
Andreas: “My friends and I loved playing with LEGO elements with each other, but what comes to mind now is how I was always a little jealous of my older brother, because I thought everything he built looked much nicer. It was a great inspiration.”
What does your brother do today? Andreas: “Ha-ha, he is also a designer!”
What do you consider play today?
Rasmus: “As a grown-up, just renovating a house can be like playing. But there is one thing that always gets me into a playful mode, and that is building a dam in a small creek. Sometimes when I do this with my boys, I can totally lose track of time. It is like when you were a child and simply forgot about everything else.”
Andreas: “For me it is building things out of wood or metal. I started as a cabinet maker and used to have a studio before joining IKEA. I always felt it was a shame to let go of what I built because I got so attached to the pieces. I have a workshop today, and still build quick prototypes out of wood to see the proportions. I guess that this is my play today.”
How does play and organize fit into your own home today?
Rasmus: “When it is time for play, it should be okay to make a mess. Kids don’t see it as mess, they see a creative environment. But it is also a human need to organize. Once in a while it is nice to clean up and actually see the floor again, but at the same time, I think it is important that you don’t do it every evening when the kids have gone to bed, because that is where the play develops. It is same thing with your own projects at home.”
Andreas: “My kids are teenagers and their rooms are probably more organized than our living room and kitchen. But I recently looked at photos from when they were younger, and I can tell you it was chaos on the floor. I totally agree with Rasmus, that it is nice to be able to leave it and not immediately clean up. For them it is not a mess. For a child it might be a huge and cool project no one can destroy. If you remove that, you also might ruin the sense of play.”
The experience of living with kids, and playing with LEGO bricks themselves as kids, has been important in the development of BYGGLEK. The two biggest BYGGLEK sets will be flat-packed and designed so that a five-year-old can put together the box themselves.
Rasmus: “The good thing is that you cannot put it together the wrong way, and you don’t need any tools. You just klick it together. It is a quite unique solution.”
Andreas: “… and the play starts there, when you assemble the boxes.”
Let’s talk about what is inside the box. How did you decide what to include?
Rasmus: “At the LEGO Group we have many great models, and some of them are very complex. With BYGGLEK, we wanted to make something simple and intuitive you could play with from the moment you open the box, that also works for a five-year old, or mom and dad. There are no building instructions. The box itself can be a house, a swimming pool, a sports arena. There is no right or wrong. Then of course we added some play starters.”
What is a play starter?
Rasmus: “The play starters help your imagination. We added some food items and minifigures to kickstart a play. We have a ‘Life at Home’ theme, and the play starters are not far from your daily life.”
Looking at BYGGLEK now, anything you are especially happy with?
Andreas: “The fact that you can build from the inside or outside. Including the box in the playlets you build something big really fast. Can’t wait to see what people will come up with.”
Rasmus: “It fits within the LEGO System, just like all of our sets. When developing products, we want to ensure that kids and families can mix and match their LEGO sets as far as their imagination takes them.”
Here is the line of BYGGLEK products, that we have been revealed to date:
BYGGLEK will be released in Europe (Except Russia), and North America on October the 1st. At this point, we do not have any indication of when they will be available in Australia, beyond ‘2021’. I hope to have details on Australian pricing soon, and will update this post.
In the mean time, here is a video with the Designers being interviewed by a couple of kids. Enjoy.
In the meantime, let me know your thoughts of BYGGLEK in the comments below, and until next time,