Showing posts with label Inside LEGO. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Inside LEGO. Show all posts

24 September 2020

LEGO® Consumer Perceived Quality: Bjarke Schønwandt

Today – the Thursday before Skaerbaek Fan Weekend – is Fan Day at LEGO® House in Billund, Denmark. Sadly neither event can proceed in person this year but Fan Day is going ahead online with some presentations. But did you miss out? Well, we are bringing you a taste of it now, because one session is similar to one New Elementary experienced online in May, at Fan Media Days. Francesco Spreafico has written this fascinating report. 


Aside from employee interviews, at Fan Media Days we also attend a few presentations about various LEGO topics. Today we are going to cover one of the most interesting of the 2020 sessions, “Consumer Perceived Quality” with Bjarke Schønwandt, Quality Director.

Bjarke has been with the LEGO Group for 18 years, and he’s always worked in Quality. His dream as a kid was to grow up and be the person who tests all LEGO sets, so, we could say he’s almost there! But what does Consumer Perceived Quality do?

17 August 2020

LEGO® Super Mario interview: Jonathan Bennink & Christian Munk

Back in May, Tim Johnson and Francesco Spreafico from New Elementary interviewed 2 LEGO® employees about the new Super Mario theme: Jonathan Bennink (Design Manager - Creative Play Lab) and Christian Munk (Marketing Director Lead - Reality & Games) including some questions from our patrons. Their answers give great insight and understanding as to why these sets were designed the way they have been! 

©2020 The LEGO Group
First, could you tell us a bit about yourselves?

Jonathan:
I'm Jonathan Bennink, I've worked at LEGO for 6 years now. I started at LEGO Dimensions but 4 years ago, I got the Creative Lead on the Nintendo collaboration. And that was just, yeah, gig of a lifetime! This is a dream I didn't even know I had – to work for LEGO, and then also for Nintendo? Super cool.

Christian:
My name is Christian Munk and I'm in marketing on LEGO Super Mario, so a part of the Product and Marketing Development team on it. I've been with LEGO for a little more than 11 years now, in various sales and marketing roles; now mainly working on gaming IPs and product lines that have technology in them, so for instance LEGO Boost and Minecraft and so on. I'm so lucky to have been working on LEGO Super Mario for the last couple of years.

12 August 2020

Free LEGO® Braille bricks released by The LEGO Foundation

First announced in 2019, it seems LEGO® Braille Bricks are now being made available. They are free, but will only be supplied to select institutions, schools and services who cater for the education of blind and visually impaired children in certain countries. It is intended that more countries will be included in the years to come but at time of writing the list only comprises Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and the USA.

Prototype LEGO Braille Bricks showing the symbol # and the word LEGO.
Prototype LEGO Braille Bricks showing the symbol # and the word LEGO.
If you think you might qualify to receive them, contact the official partner from the blind community that LEGO are working with in your country for information. These partners handle distribution of the toolkits as well as supporting training of the teaching concept. The partners are all listed on the official web page.

29 June 2020

LEGO® Element Design: Interview with Karsten Juel Bunch, Part 2 – fans' questions

Yesterday we published our in-depth interview with LEGO® Design Director of the Element Design Platform, Karsten Juel Bunch, who explained the special role his team take and ran through an example: the redevelopment of the large shooter element and arrow. Today we just round off the chat with a few questions that were posed by the New Elementary team and our supporters on Patreon.

©2020 The LEGO Group

28 June 2020

LEGO® Element Design: Interview with Karsten Juel Bunch, Part 1 – the new shooter

In May we spoke with Karsten Juel Bunch who joined the LEGO Group in 2001 as an Element Designer and rose to become Design Director of the Element Design Team in 2016. He told us about the design process for complex elements, in particular the brand new shooter elements Brick 2X6X1 1/3 W/ Shooter (Element ID 6296378|Design ID 49743) and Arrow W/ 3.2 Shaft (6307940|46537).
This transcript has been edited for clarity, readability and narrative flow.



17 June 2020

LEGO® House Limited Editions: 40501 The Wooden Duck

The official announcement of the next LEGO® House set has just occurred in a live online event direct from the LEGO Group’s Billund-based experience centre and museum. 40501 The Wooden Duck is the first in their new range called ‘The LEGO House Limited Editions', celebrating key moments in the company’s history.


It was designed by Stuart Harris, the LEGO House Master Builder and Jme Wheeler who is a fan-turned-designer on the Ninjago team (his first sets will appear this summer). Available from Monday priced 599 DKK, it has 621 pieces, measures 20cm high x 22cm long x 3cm wide (8” x 7” x 1”) and comes with a stand measuring over 13cm (5”) square.  The base has printed tiles with ‘LEGO® House’ and ‘The wooden duck’.

14 June 2020

LEGO® Brick Sketches: Interview with Chris McVeigh


Chris McVeigh, now a LEGO® Designer after many years as a freelance creative and fan, spoke to us at Fan Media Days about the new range just announced: LEGO Brick Sketches.


Chris, can you start by giving us a bit of a rundown on how this new series of models that you originally designed as a fan came to be an official product? Did you bring it to LEGO or did they suggest it to you? Because a few people have been like, “oh, we saw that coming. That's why TLG hired him…"

Chris: It certainly wasn't like that! Everything I've done with the company has been by the standard processes... there hasn't been any anything that's just like "hey yeah, let's do this because we like what you do”. So it was me who brought it to the company. When you first get to LEGO, every day, every week, it's a new adventure. So after I had been there a couple of months, people started to get excited about this event. It’s what we call Creative Boost, and it's where we designers can propose different ideas and whatnot. And I thought, I don't have time, I'm invested in what I'm doing right now, I’ll just have to wait until the next one... but towards the end of week, I said to myself, no, just remake some of your Brick Sketches!

12 June 2020

LEGO® MINDSTORMS® 51515 Robot Inventor: reveal and interview

The new LEGO® MINDSTORMS® has just been revealed, however we were lucky enough to be 'present' at the digital launch event at LEGO Fan Media Days a couple of weeks ago. Lena Dixen, Head of Product and Marketing Development and Dan Meehan, Creative Design Lead talked us through set 51515 Robot Inventor and answered a few questions from the LEGO fan media present. It has 949 pieces and will be available "sometime in early Q4 2020", priced £329.99/ US$359.99/ €359.99.

Lena Dixen:
"We're very excited about the launch we're here to talk about today. We want to share with you, up front, that we had planned for this awesome new product to be ready to go on sale in August this year. Unfortunately we've experienced some unavoidable delays in product development and as a result, we've decided to delay the launch until later in 2020.


"Here it is: the latest addition to the much loved LEGO MINDSTORMS. The new Robot Inventor 51515 unleashes a new world of creative coding possibilities that we believe provides the ultimate playful learning experience. Builders can create and code one of the set's five personality-packed models, or build and bring to life anything they can imagine.

22 May 2020

LEGO® interview: PPE safety masks

It was recently revealed that The LEGO Group (TLG) urgently altered their production to dedicate six moulding machines to create safety masks for Danish medical staff. Some fan media were invited to pose questions by email to LEGO® employees about this project, who kindly took the time to provide more detail about this unusual turn of events. The questions published here are the combined questions from the Rambling Brick, Brickset, BrickFinder, HispaBrick Magazine and of course New Elementary, including some from our kind patrons.

A LEGO employee tries on a completed mask.

Where did the idea for this come from, an employee or senior management… or perhaps a government request?

TLG: In March, one of our colleagues in the Engineering department heard that there was a desperate need for safety equipment for COVID-19 in Denmark. He approached the rest of his team with his idea for a visor and they started to trial production ideas. Approximately 100 LEGO employees have been involved in this project in Denmark and Hungary, from developing the design and new moulds, to working with our supplies to make the visors a reality in just a couple of weeks. 

LEGO® Hidden Side 70436 Phantom Fire Truck 3000: Design Process with Niek van Slagmaat

One of the LEGO® Hidden Side designers, Niek van Slagmaat, recently shared some of his design process for upcoming set 70436 Phantom Fire Truck 3000 in a series of fascinating tweets. Rather than scroll through the twittersphere trying to take in all the details, we have unrolled (and lightly edited) the threads here for you, with permission from Niek.



Niek: The new Hidden Side fire truck was my favorite Hidden Side set to design so far! With it releasing soon, I thought it would be cool to share some of my process on this set. It's important to make it VERY clear that this, as with all LEGO sets, was a team effort. I worked closely with a variety of people to make this vision work, from digital development teams to sparring partners, to quality and building instructions developers.

25 March 2020

21322 Pirates of Barracuda Bay: Designer interview with Milan Madge & Austin William Carlson

The next LEGO® Ideas set, 21322 Pirates of Barracuda Bay, seems to be dividing opinion in the community. Regardless, you will be interested to hear what its designers, Milan Madge (set) and Austin William Carlson (graphics and minifigures) have to say about their adaptation of Pablo Jiménez's original design. And for this exclusive interview they've also shared the seven prototypes showing the model's development!


The first thing many people will say is that the final product diverges significantly from the original fan model. How did you come to the decision to make these changes, and was there much input from the fan designer?

Milan: The first step was building the fan designer Pablo’s model, but it became obvious early on that I was missing a lot of elements. Many of the pieces have been out of production for some time, so we had to get creative. The biggest hurdle was the raised baseplate, which meant a total redesign of the structure of the model, but even tiny changes such as the new boat hulls being wider than the ones in Pablo’s submission meant that all the proportions needed altering – a real headache!

04 January 2020

LEGO® Employee Gift 4002019 Christmas X-Wing: Build Your Own

Each Christmas, The LEGO Group give their employees all over the world a special gift set. Since this year is the 20th anniversary of LEGO® Star Wars, it seems they have decided to incorporate the theme by designing a Yuletide X-Wing complete with R2-D2 sleigh and Yoda's igloo. The problem with employee sets is that they are are not released for purchase although inevitably a large amount seem to find their way to the secondary marketplaces.



Recognised LEGO Fan Media (like us!) are lucky enough to also receive one and so we thought we would take a look at this exclusive set with the aim of reassuring you that if you want to build it, that is almost entirely possible thanks to the scarcity of exclusive elements in it.

02 January 2020

LEGO® Speed Champions 2020: Designer Interview with Christopher Stamp

Way back in May 2019, we spoke to LEGO® Speed Champions Design Manager Specialist Christopher Leslie Stamp in Billund where he thrilled us with a secret glimpse at the 2020 line and its new elements. Now that the sets are available, we can share our interview with you.


Hello Chris, how long have you worked on the Speed Champions line?

I was on the design team for the first launch, so I was lucky enough to work on those products. I was the main designer on the second launch and I worked on several of the third launch. And that's when we actually first started looking into the 911 Porsche. But we don't just pick a car and do it straightaway. For example, although we started looking into the Porsche in 2016, we thought we'd keep for 2017. Actually, we kept it until 2018 because we kept working on it for so long, and then I went off and I did Ninjago for a little bit.

19 December 2019

10267 Gingerbread House: Designer Interview with Jamie Berard

Tomorrow we will publish our review of this year's Winter Village set - 10267 Gingerbread House - but back in May in Billund we chatted with LEGO® Creator Expert Design Manager Specialist Jamie Berard  about it. It has 1477 pieces, including three LEGO minifigures, and is priced £84.99/ US $99.99/ CA $139.99/ DE €89.99/ FR €94.99/ 799DKK/ AUD $159.99 and is already available directly from LEGO.


29 October 2019

Inside LEGO® Campus: Opening the new HQ

We're such teases... we were going to start our Skærbæk workshop results today but Francesco Spreafico has delivered this hot-off-the-press tale of the new LEGO® headquarters. He attended the opening of its first phase yesterday to give us all a glimpse inside the workings of The LEGO Group.

In July 2016, The LEGO Group announced their plans for their new headquarters in Billund, that would take the place of the then-current HQ, located in the street called Åstvej (where they’d been since the 1970s) and the Højmarksvej factory behind it that had recently been decommissioned. The LEGO House was almost ready and this project seemed to follow its steps, proposing a wonderfully modern building surrounded by nature, once more right in the middle of Billund. Soon after the announcement the construction works started and, as it often is the case, an observation point was also set up, so that the public could see how the works proceeded. Eventually even the old HQ were taken down and nothing else was left.


Fast-forward to yesterday, when the so-called “first phase” of the building officially opened! The whole “Campus” (as it is called now) will be finished in 2021 but a first section is ready (with 500 employees out of the 2000 that will be there in two years).

22 October 2019

LEGO® House interview: Fan designer Simon Hundsbichler & LEGO Designer Stuart Harris

On 26 September 2019, LEGO® House threw a party for AFOLs to mark the second anniversary of its inauguration. Among the events was the reveal of the fan models chosen to appear in the Masterpiece Gallery for the coming year, including three creations by Simon Hundsbichler (Simon NH) from Austria who you may recall participating in our 2018 Parts Festival. We met up with Simon for a chat and were joined by Stuart Harris, Senior Experience Designer at the LEGO House, for some context and information about how AFOLs and their artworks are chosen.


What are the intentions of the Masterpiece Gallery, Stuart?

Stuart: When Kjeld was dreaming up the idea of doing LEGO House, the fans were an integral part of his plans so they’ve been involved in everything – even reviewing the architecture and giving us input, which is why we have this giant 2x4 brick on top of the building. So they’ve always been planned in, to be a permanent part of the LEGO House. We have a number of places where the fans can showcase their work and the ‘main’ showcase, if you like, is here in the Masterpiece Gallery. This is the one place where we put together fan collections.

22 September 2019

How the LEGO® element team designed the new gear wheels

We’ve really enjoyed this latest Parts Festival, which now draws to a close, and we are so grateful to the talented artists who gave us their time and creative talents for everyone’s pleasure; in no particular order – Jessica Farrell, Inthert, Jaap Bijl, Duncan Lindbo, Samuel Pister, Sarah Beyer and Jaroslaw Walter.

To complete the festival we will take another look at what are arguably the most noticeable parts in the selection; the new gear wheel plates that we affectionately named ‘splat gears’. You may recall back in March, Elspeth wrote a fantastic post listing the different kinds of LEGO gears through history, including an examination of the new splat gear family.


It seems LEGO enjoyed her post too! – we later received this fascinating email from Marinus Jasperse on behalf of the Element Design Platform Team at the LEGO Group about the development of the new gear family...

26 July 2019

21318 Treehouse: designer interview with César Soares

This week, the LEGO® Ideas set 21318 Treehouse was officially revealed. It has 3036 pieces and is coming out on 1 August for £179.99/ US$199.99/ €199.99, but LEGO VIPs can already order it now. Our review is coming soon but here is an exclusive interview we had with the set's designer César Soares, with Monica Pedersen from Marketing also present.


Wow! You kept it at a good size then.

César: Yes, this is actually very close to the fan submission size [by Kevin Feeser – Ed.]. I think his is a bit taller.

Was it the intention to stick as closely as possible to what had been voted for?

César: Yes, absolutely. We always try to stay as close as possible. We have to change some things. In this case, the base for instance. He had a square grey base and the whole thing is very organic so a square base would look a little bit odd. So we thought, why not make it more organic, make it green also to mimic the grass or plants, and a little stream. Another thing is the cabins; in the original submission they were all brown. And actually the first sketch model was all brown but then Sam [Johnson, the creative lead of LEGO Ideas] wrote me and said, “hey, they don’t pop out as much as we would like, so make them another colour.” That’s why they are medium dark flesh instead of brown, and the same thing with the roofs. They were dark tan and brown as well, so again we felt a little bit of colour might add something.

14 July 2019

LEGO® Overwatch: Designer interview with Woon Tze

In May we chatted with LEGO® Overwatch designer Woon Tze in Billund about the theme and its new elements. This was prior to the reveal of the upcoming wave of sets, which is why we didn't ask him about those!

How long have you worked at the LEGO Group?

I’ve been at the company three years now. I started off at Super Heroes, I moved on to Harry Potter and Jurassic World, and now Overwatch. I built D.Va & Reinhardt [75973, read our review here] and the exclusive Omnic Bastion [75987].



Were you an Overwatch fan already?

I was a fan of the artwork, and once I got added to the team, I started playing the game… quite a bit! Probably a bit too much, I would say. I’m also a family man with three young boys so I need to control that a little bit! So at the moment it is controlled, I would hope to play a little bit more.

28 June 2019

LEGO® Inside Tour 2019: new and exclusive parts

Every year The LEGO Group run a few “Inside Tour” events where they open their doors to a small group of fans. The lucky participants – I say lucky because although they are paying for the pleasure, tickets sell out almost instantly – are given behind the scenes access to LEGO HQ, hang out with designers and receive all manner of goodies. The most notable goodie is the Inside Tour set, a set designed for the tours that (sometimes) remains unavailable elsewhere. Each celebrates an aspect of LEGO history such as the Ferguson tractor, or the LEGOLAND train.

This year’s set is especially exciting to New Elementary as it contains a new element, produced exclusively for the set. It is 3D printed rather than injection moulded, so while its quality is much lower than regular LEGO pieces, it’s still super exciting... and rare. Participants were told it is the first 3D-printed piece ever to appear in a LEGO set (unless any of you readers know otherwise?). They’ve even given it ID numbers; Element ID 6286866|Design ID 66237, but don’t expect it to ever become available anywhere!


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