Secrets of the LEGO® House [Book Review]

The home of the brick, the LEGO House, in Downtown Billund dominates the landscape. Entering the building is simple. You don’t even need a ticket. You enter, and find yourself in the main ‘town square’ you can visit the LEGO Store, cafe’s and the ticket office. And beyond that… well, how much time do you have?

You can probably see most of the LEGO House in a day. You probably won’t do much else, and by the end of the day, you will be determined to finish it, just as a matter of principle.

But this is not a post about the LEGO House, but rather the latest book from Chronicle Books. – The Secrets of the LEGO House: Design, Play and Wonder in the Home of the Brick by Jesús Díaz. This volume landed on my desk at an unexpected time, and is available to order now.

The book covers many aspects of the LEGO House: the importance in nostalgia in the way that many adults connect with our LEGO sets, the design concepts behind the LEGO House, both the building as well as the experiences within; and finally what you can expect to see and experience as a visitor.

The one hundred and sixty pages are filled with interviews with people behind the experience. In these pages we learn about the principles applied to the design, including setting out to minimise you need to photograph figures or videos you create in the various zones, by having them saved according to your wristband, which also acts as your ticket;

The book goes into many details of the experience: some of the Easter eggs hidden in the World Explorer diorama’s of the Green Zone, Keys to the Master Piece Gallery; exploring creativity in the red zone; the blue zone where visitors test their technical ability and cognition, and the yellow zone exploring feelings and nature – including the flower zone and fish builder – where brick built fish are put into a large digital fish tank.

Of course, the historical archive – with its interactive memory lane, where you can find digitised versions of your favorite child hood sets, as well as the LEGO house’s cafeteria, where brick built orders see your meals delivered by robot waiters is introduced.

The LEGO House has been open for almost 4 years now, and author takes us on a journey, from his previous experience visiting Billund on assignment, with an opportunity to visit one of the vaults, through to the experiences that are now open for all to enjoy.

I find his writing style engaging, and especially goes into the ‘Why?’ and the ‘How?’ rather than just the ‘What?’

The book is generously decked out with plenty of photographs from the LEGO House itself, but serves rather as a teaser, rather than a spoiler to the activities inside.

This is the type of book that you might typically buy from the giftshop at the end of an attraction, about the attraction itself. Of course, it would then take up space in your luggage better reserved for picking up more LEGO sets! Fortunately, it has more general availability through Amazon, as well as other book retailers.

As such, I would recommend it to anyone who is:

  • interested in getting more detail about the LEGO House – either before or after their visit;
  • interested in LEGO Tourism
  • wants to travel vicariously in the presence of the global pandemic.

Along with the online tours of the LEGO History Collection, this book serves to whet the appetite of anyone who is unsure as to whether or not a trip to Billund is something they want to put on their holiday bucket list as international borders open up. Me, I’m biased: I have been fortunate to visit a couple of times, and meet some of the people interviewed in the book. As such, I found myself transported back to simpler times (and they were only 2 years ago), remembering an enjoyable experience that I hope to repeat again.

Secrets of LEGO® House – Design, Play and Wonder in the Home of the Brick, Written by Jesús Díaz, with a forward by Jesper Vilstrup is available for preorder now from Chroniclebooks.com, Amazon.com and bookshop.org and more. It is now available for preorder. Until next time…

Play Well.

This book was provided by Hachette Publishing/ Chronicle Books as a preview copy. All opinions are, however, my own.

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