Showing posts with label Interview. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Interview. Show all posts

13 October 2021

LEGO® Element Development: the Porsche Bows – Interview with Stephan Breum Steen

Tom Loftus ( continues our series of LEGO® Element Developer Q&As today with Stephan Breum Steen, Senior Mechanical Engineer in the Novelty Element Development department at the LEGO Group. As explained in the first article, element developers are one of the many, many different roles in the LEGO Group who work together to create each new element. They receive the brief from the product designer or element designer, and when complete the mould developer continues the work. Today, Stephan answers our questions on a particularly curvy element, then Tom provides additional analysis and MOCs. Transcripts were edited for clarity, readability and narrative flow.

Commonly known as ‘Porsche bows’, having first appeared in 10295 Porsche 911, today’s subjects are Left Shell 2x10x2, Outside Bow, W/ Cut in White (6336752 | 77180) and Right Shell 2x10x2, Outside Bow, W/ Cut in White (6336754 | 77182). They have since appeared in 21327 Typewriter in Sand Green (Left 6359067, Right 6359068) and have just become available in Dark Red (Left 6359689, Right 6359690) thanks to 10290 Pickup Truck.

Stephan Breum Steen has been involved in the development of over 100 elements and is one of the marvellous minds who takes a new element design and makes it a reality. It's a process that involves careful consideration of countless factors, but most relevant to us today is how an element will be moulded and how well it fits in with existing LEGO parts.

06 October 2021

LEGO® Element Development: the 4+ Wheelbase – Interview with Niels Bundesen & Jonas Stubager

Today we kick off an exclusive new series of interviews with a different kind of LEGO Group employee: the Element Developers. We’re quite excited here at New Elementary because we haven’t spoken to them before, and anyone responsible for making LEGO® elements is a hero in our book! Conducted over email, we asked a series of set questions about recent elements to reveal a bit more about their production process. Transcripts were edited for clarity, readability and narrative flow. 

LEGO part 65094

In this first interview we asked LEGO Mechanical Engineers Niels Bundesen and Jonas Stubager about part 65094, which they call the 4+ Wheelbase, as it is a pre-assembled chassis created for the 4+ age mark range. Other names include:

21 September 2021

LEGO® Super Heroes: interview with the design team

At Fan Media Days in May 2021, Francesco Spreafico and Zach Hill from New Elementary spoke online with the LEGO® Super Heroes team – a whole lot of them! – to find out more about their work and the elements they have designed.

Hello everyone! Can you briefly introduce yourselves, so we know who you are?

Mark Stafford: I'm Mark. I design LEGO® sets. My latest ones are the Bugle and the Black Panther dragon flyer. 

Justin Ramsden: My Name is Justin. I'm a LEGO designer, I make toys for kids. My most recent products have been in the Monkey Kid line or the Chinese Traditional Festival, but Super Heroes has always been my home for the past six and a half years.

Adam Grabowski: I'm Adam. My latest thing is the 1966 Batmobile. And also the Venom and Carnage. 

Ashwin Visser: My name is Ashwin, I'm one of the graphic designers for Super Heroes, so I usually do the stickers and decorated elements. I work together with the guys on their products.

Jesper C. Nielsen: I’m Jesper and I'm the creative lead on Super Heroes. I used to be cool and build toys for kids. 

10 September 2021

LEGO® 10293 Santa's Visit: Designer Chris McVeigh interview

The 2021 LEGO® Winter Village set has been revealed: 10293 Santa’s Visit is a charming, angular home built of Light Royal Blue/ Bright Light Blue bricks. It has 1,445 pieces, measures 27cm x 16cm and is 19cm high. It is available exclusively for LEGO VIP members from 16 September and from LEGO Stores and online from 1 October priced €89.99/ US$99.99/ £79.99/ AU$159.99/ CA$139.99. Buying this set? Consider using our affiliate links, New Elementary may get a commission: USA LEGO Shop | Australia LEGO Shop | UK LEGO Shop/for Europe 'Change region'.

And who better to introduce it than its designer, Chris McVeigh? New Elementary’s Caz Mockett and Ben Davies had the chance to speak with him during the RLFM Days in May where he gave us a sneak peek at his latest design.

02 July 2021

LEGO® Technic designer interview: Samuel Tacchi & Milan Reindl reveal 42128 & 42129

The LEGO® Technic brand has just revealed more sets for the second half of 2021: the pneumatic-powered 42128 Heavy-duty Tow Truck and remote-control 42129 4x4 Mercedes-Benz Zetros Trial Truck.

Samuel Tacchi (pictured left) and Milan Reindl (right), two designers from The LEGO Group's Technic division, joined New Elementary's Zach and Caz (the palindrome team!) for a chat during the Recognised LEGO Fan Media Days about these two upcoming big rigs as well as Technic element design. The following transcript has been edited for clarity, readability and narrative flow.

23 June 2021

Sustainable LEGO® bricks: will Recycled PET be the end of ABS?

The LEGO Group have released a progress update on their efforts to eliminate the environmental impact of making LEGO® bricks, and New Elementary have asked them some questions about it. You will recall they’ve been testing various plastics made from sustainable resources for several years now, and although they don’t yet have the solution, today they have revealed the first brick made from a recycled material that meets the company’s strict quality and safety requirements – as well has having the all-important correct level of clutch power! That material is recycled PET (rPET) from discarded bottles. Each 1-litre plastic PET bottle provides them with enough raw material to make 10 LEGO 2x4 bricks, on average. 

12 May 2021

LEGO® Speed Champions 2021 interview: Design Manager Specialist Christopher Stamp

Back in May 2020 during the Fan Media Days, New Elementary contributors Tim Johnson and Francesco Spreafico spoke online to LEGO® Speed Champions Design Manager Specialist, Christopher Leslie Stamp, where he told us everything about the 2021 sets. (Well, almost everything – since then, they added another car to this year's assortment!) And so now, a year later with the sets about to be released on 1 June, we can finally share what he told us! This transcript has been edited for clarity, readability and narrative flow.

Set images ©2021 The LEGO Group, photograph ©2019 New Elementary

08 May 2021

LEGO® City interview: the new Road Plates

An earth-shattering change occurred in LEGO® City in 2021: the introduction of brick-built roads, replacing the thin baseplates that have been used for decades. So New Elementary asked The LEGO Group about the development of this new 'element platform', including questions from our lovely Patreon supporters. The answers are a team effort from the LEGO® City team and Element Design. Before anyone asks; we did not ask them about the absence of curved road elements as the team had already stated; "At this point the LEGO® City team does not have a comment on corners."

Where did the idea for reinventing road baseplates come about - is it something that’s been on the LEGO® City team’s collective minds for a long time now, or a bit more recent? 

The idea has been hovering around the project for a number of years. The first time this system of elements was pitched as a concept was more than 10 years ago. 

10 March 2021

LEGO® Designers interview: 10281 Bonsai Tree

Recently, Thomas Jenkins represented New Elementary in a virtual roundtable interview with the designer of LEGO® Botanical Collection 10280 Bonsai Tree, Nicolaas Vás (aka @PrinceGalidor) and Senior Design Manager Jamie Berard along with Jay's Brick Blog, the Brothers Brick, the Rambling Brick and Blocks Magazine. We each had 8 minutes to ask our questions, so what follows is but a short excerpt from our conversation (edited for readability and clarity). We sent Nick and Jamie our questions ahead of the interview and they came back with some really thoughtful responses. Be sure to check out the other outlets for more.

New Elementary: The pink frogs in the set as well as your own bonsai creations have inspired a number of custom trees blooming with crazy flowers in the AFOL community, are there any that have caught your eye?

Nick: There was a particular tree that I saw from a Japanese builder online and he had basically covered the entire tree with LEGO® Friends hedgehogs and it was fantastic to see that he absolutely gets what this product is about.


25 January 2021

LEGO® 71741 NINJAGO® City Gardens interview: designer Markus Rollbühler

The newest LEGO® NINJAGO® set, 71741 Ninjago City Gardens, has been one of the most anticipated sets in recent memory. To learn more about the process of creating the set, Ben Davies spoke to its designer Markus Rollbühler who discusses its design, new elements, secret references and shares a look at several sketch models! Buying this set? Consider using our affiliate links: UK LEGO Shop | USA LEGO Shop | Australia LEGO Shop, for other countries 'Change Region'. New Elementary may get a commission.

New Elementary:
Hello Markus, congratulations on the set! The previous two LEGO® NINJAGO® City sets (70620 Ninjago City and 70657 Ninjago City Docks) both also received considerable praise upon release. Was there a sense of pressure when it came to creating a successor to these sets?

Markus: The LEGO® NINJAGO® City set was a phenomenon. When it came out, my friends were so excited for it that we all bought one each and met up and built them together, ending up with 5 or 6 cities on the same table. There are very few sets that have created similar universal excitement, so getting to design the third in this beloved line of modular sets was of course amazing and at the same time very daunting. Naturally, there are high expectations from both NINJAGO fans and the AFOL community on a set of this calibre. Wanting to make sure I designed a worthy addition to this world we had been building, I put quite a lot of pressure on myself. My amazing design team made that disappear quickly though and now I look back on designing 71741 LEGO NINJAGO City Gardens as an extremely joyful time. Getting to work on it was a dream come true!

15 January 2021

Inside the LEGO® Element Design department: Interview with Marinus Jasperse, Senior Designer

You may recall Marinus Jasperse, Senior Designer on the LEGO® Element Design Team, from his recent article when he pulled apart a 1980s DUPLO phone! Following this, Tim Johnson caught up over a video call with Marinus in his 'home office', to gain a deeper insight into how the element designers at The LEGO Group are structured and operate. This transcript has been edited for clarity, readability and narrative flow.

New Elementary:
Hello, Marinus, thanks for your time this morning! 

Marinus: Let me just start by saying, that is always very thorough research you guys do on elements. In some cases you even manage to surprise us like, “wow – there is a connection there!” So very, very thorough.

That's what we like to hear, we're hoping we're surprising people, especially TLG employees! So when did you begin at the LEGO Group and what has your journey there been? 

I started in October 2015, in the Platform team. Back then they were developing the roller coaster track so I came half-way into that project and what an awesome project it was to start with, creating such a unique subsystem! I’m part of the Element Design Team too now; about a year ago I made the decision to move over and go a little more into Downstream. 

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?

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.

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.

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 Edition reveal: 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.