Eero Okkonen (@eerookkonen) resumes our series of Element Developer Q&As today as we speak to Henrik Skallebæk, Senior Mechanical Engineer at the LEGO Group, about the LEGO® Candelabra piece (73117). Then, Eero presents an original MOC using this new element. Transcripts were edited for clarity, readability and narrative flow.
The 3-armed candlestick was specifically designed for the LEGO® version of candlewax-and-brass character Lumiere, from Disney's animated film Beauty and the Beast. However, the piece made its debut in the LEGO Harry Potter theme.
Currently, the piece appears only in Pearl Gold and in five sets - two of which include the full Lumiere:
- 41690 Friends Advent Calendar 2021
- 43193 Ariel, Belle, Cinderella and Tiana's Storybook Adventures
- 43196 Belle and the Beast's Castle
- 76185 Spider-Man at the Sanctum Workshop
- 76389 Hogwarts Chamber of Secrets
Interview with LEGO Senior Mechanical Engineer Henrik Skallebæk
New Elementary: What was your background before joining the LEGO Group?
Henrik Skallebæk: I worked as a Mechanical Engineer. I have worked for the LEGO Group for ten years, split between two separate stints with the company.
When did you start and which teams have you worked in?
Henrik: I started in 1998 and my first project was a football LEGO® set. Later on I worked on a number of space, animal, deep sea and adventure sets including many from the LEGO Jack Stone theme. I’ve designed over 100 LEGO elements.
Of the elements you’ve worked on, which are you most proud of?
Henrik: I am most proud of the elements I make that can be used in many different ways by the amazing designers we have. I was also very happy when I completed my first element design, that was linked to a football themed set – we had a great team who collaborated really well on the project, so I remember that one well.
What do you personally call this new element/these new elements?
Henrik: 3-armed candlestick.
Did the design change during development?
Henrik: The element uses standard connections so there wasn’t much to change in the design phase, but we did tweak a few small details. We had 4 feedback loops in the design phase.
Is it ABS or did you need a different plastic? Did the material influence the way the part was designed?
Henrik: This element is made from ABS plastic. We designed some of the edges with a large radius to ensure the element adhered to our strict product safety requirements.
Did you include any features that deliberately prevent the builder using the element in a way that is not intended?
Henrik: No, but we did design the product to ensure that there was enough space for a Minifigure hand to hold the centre shaft.
Eero Okkonen's MOC with the LEGO Candelabra: Queen Namárië
The candelabra piece is both a handy combination of connection points and an interesting visual element. Here it is placed in the spotlight - on Queen Namárië's brow, with a lone sapphire to complete the crown.
The character evolved around this crown; she's inspired by Tolkien's legendarium, particularly the reigning queens of Númenor - but re-imagined with bright colours often absent from Tolkien-inspired art.
The vertical supports of the side studs don't connect to clip pieces, so the candelabra is connected to the robot arm pieces via two Pearl Gold Tile, Round 1 x 1 with Bar and Pin Holder pieces (20482).
I'm sure we'll see it in numerous wizard's workshops, castle chapels and festival tables, but it might also end up being hidden in the core of some SNOT masterwork. Steampunk and other brass mechanic pipeheads will find it especially lovable; it's something straight from a steam engine's cab.
I've heard some minor complaints on the middle support being one plate lower than the others. This is not a feature common on real-world candelabras, but accurate to the Disney character Lumiere the piece was modelled on. I don't see this as an issue, as they can be levelled even with a 1x1 round plate with hollow stud, enabling the connection for a candle piece.
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