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Less space: LEGOs influence spatial design and societal problem solving (and they are way cool)

March 15, 2012

In honor of my son’s fifth birthday, a post about the wonders of LEGOs – a couple of examples of real-life walls built with LEGOs, as well as some “LEGO-inspired” architecture and urban design concepts. Some LEGO walls are made just for the kiddos like this bedroom wall photo, but grown-ups seem to be getting in on the fun as well.

I’ll start with a LEGO staircase in a Manhattan apartment. How awesome to be a kid in this home! The boy’s bedroom loft and stairs up are wrapped with a lovely pixilated wall of color. Read more at “Please Meet Manhattan’s Very Own Totally Lego Staircase”.

And this is what happens when you get a bunch of creative agency folks (at NPIRE in Hamburg) who need a divider wall and have a bunch of LEGOs left over from their childhoods. Read more at “NPIRE Uses 55,000 Legos to Create a Funky Pixelated Room Divider”.

But, lest you think this is all child’s play, check out how the ingenuity of LEGOs inspires design at all scales. Here is a tiny (258sf) Manhattan apartment that transforms in a myriad of ways to reveal a kitchen, wardrobe, dining table and bed tucked behind walls. You have to see the video to fully appreciate how intricately thought out it all is. Read more at “Action-Packed, “LEGO-Style” Transformer Apartment Unfolds in 258 Sq. Ft.”

And another beautiful transformation in this elegant kitchen drawer design. How cool is this? You think you’re going to find the drawer full of table linens, but instead it’s the table! Read more at: “The Works In a Drawer: Dining Table and Seating Pull Out Of Kitchen”.

And then, if you are not yet convinced of how the culture of LEGOs has impacted design, here is a cool article about the LEGO building room at the National Building Museum. It appears that the group of builders each day is influenced by the creations around them, so the researcher Alex Gilliam set out to study the effect of building “outlier” forms for visitors to find when they entered the space in the morning. It turns out that he was able to influence the design direction of kids and adults alike with his prototype models. A very interesting concept, which he further relates to how we as a society interact with each other:

Prototyping and “showing” new behaviors, expertise, and relationships is essential to best meeting the substantial needs of society today. As we all know, many systems and organizations for solving our cities’ most pressing problems are broken, and by extension our understanding of how to solve them and who participates is also often broken. As such, we need more places and generative opportunities, like LEGO rooms, to fundamentally rethink how people might engage with one another to make our cities great.

Read more at: “Building blocks: What LEGOs can teach us about rebuilding cities”.

So maybe my son’s fascination with LEGOs (and the impending LEGO building birthday party) will reshape the future. My “AFOL” (Adult Fan Of Lego) husband will be glad to know this. I know I’ll be doing my part to build “outlier” creations to add to the mix.

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