In which, on discovering the reappearance of teal in the LEGO colour palette, I go in search of “Stafford’s Choice.” Have any colours been sacrificed in order to allow teal to return? Let’s tick off the colours as we review some of the recently announced new sets for 2018…
Mark Stafford is a senior designer with the LEGO Group. Recruited from the fan community, he joined the company over 10 years ago and has had a hand in many of the action themes over that period of time. Themes such as NEXO Knights, Legends of Chima, Space Police 3, Ninjago, Alien Conquest, Power Miners and Atlantis, to name but a few. He also helped to turn Peter Reid’s Exosuit Ideas submission into a set.
At Brickvention in 2014, Mark gave a talk talking about a challenge he faced in his early days as a designer: Early in his career at LEGO he was put to work, sharing his love of mechs, on the EXO Force line.
One of the first sets that he designed was the Dark Panther – 8115. And it was here that he was given a challenging decision: The initial models left the set leaning towards one of red, orange, purple (medium lilac) and teal (bright blueish green). If teal were to be chosen, purple would be deleted from the current colour palette; if he chose to use purple, then teal would be deleted. Had orange or red been used then both teal and purple would have vanished from the LEGO palette for the foreseeable future. Continue reading →
This year, we saw the release of the 10 Anniversary Modular building, the Assembly Square. This set featured plenty of callbacks to the previous modulars, with various colour schemes and other design cues. Now that we are entering the second decade of modular buildings, it appears that there are some changes afoot. Until now, many of the buildings have had the appearance of buildings dating from the 1920’s or 30’s and the Minifigures all featured the classic smiley face.
But we now enter a new era in modular buildings: the downtown diner is drawing cues from the Streamline Moderne style, a style that originated in the late 30’s, but continued to influence architecture for decades to come: a sleek building, with a tiled facade and smooth curves, and we have both in abundance here. In a break with previous modular traditions, the minifigures now have expressions (and the occasional moustache) on their faces, while their dress appears more representative of the 1950’s. Indeed, the pink cadillac and the Rock’N’Roll singer all but confirm that this is a bit of a jump into the future from our previous modular era. (Admittedly, the Brick Bank 10251 from 2016, featured a computer on a desk, as well as an espresso machine in the staff room – not a common feature in the past – certainly this would be the most anachronistic feature of a modular building to date.) Assembly Square feels as if it might also be from a more recent period in history, if only because of the clothing prints in use by the minifigures. Certainly, we are now entering a new era, with new architectural styles and new minifigure prints.
And Teal. We have seen evidence of a reborn teal in other sets for 2018, however this set contains more elements in this colour than any other set that we have seen details for. I especially like the use of the 6×6 curves to create the high, sweeping arch. There are also lots of teal bricks in the back wall of the diner.
What do we see on the inside? We have 3 levels, with the diner downstairs, a gym on the 1st floor, and a recording studio upstairs. The diner features a short order cook flipping pancakes and frying bacon, in the form of a 1×2 grille plate! The Waitress is on roller skates. The gym is furnished with a boxing ring as well as a punching bag. The Boxer has blue trunks and red boxing gloves.
And then there is the singer, and is that his press agent? record producer? Who knows. The detail in the recording studio is fantastic. The stories you can create are endless. He drives a pink, open top sedan, with great fifties styling, and occasional anachronism,.
The style here is a departure from what we have come to expect from modular buildings, but after a decade it is time to move forward. Given that this year represents the 60th Anniversary of the LEGO Brick, it seems appropriate that this year’s modular should include references to the decade when that patent was lodged.
The 10260 Diner is available on the 1st of January 2018. The Australian price will be $249.99. Other currencies in the press release.