FORMGIVING

FORMGIVING – A giant exhibition in the Danish Architecture Center, with 71 BIG projects as glimpses of and gifts to our future. In the “Golden Gallery” 25 BIG-designed buildings are recreated in LEGO bricks by LEGO master builders from all over the world. The LEGO-show is on view until October 20, 2019. 

Proud Big Builders joined by Bjarke Ingels at the opening reception. In his opening address, Bjarke referred to our “super-human LEGO skills”
FORMGIVING press photo
FORMGIVING press photo. Kids building the DONG model
FORMGIVING press photo. Kids playing in the LEGO pool in the center of The Golden Gallery
Bjarke Ingels and the MTN model by Esben Kolind
FORMGIVING press photo from the main exhibition.

COCO – Grove at Grand Bay

My second build for FORMGIVING is the Grove at Grand Bay. Two winding 20-story towers with luxury condos, cleverly twisting as they rise to provide both towers with great views of the harbour. The towers are surrounded by a lush green landscape providing the residents with comfort and shade.

Grove at Grand Bay – Photo by © Rasmus Hjorthøy
Pool area landscape – Photo by © Rasmus Hjorthøy

There were three main challenges with recreating this exciting piece of architecture in LEGO form.

  • The twist in the towers – luckily unlike my other build Kistefos Museum the twist is around the vertical access, which means I wouldn’t have to worry about stability since each floor rests on the previous
  • The flowing lines of the landscapes are difficult to approximate with LEGO bricks. I realised early that some compromises would have to be made.
  • The final challenge is a more practical one; I wanted to add some interior lights to the buildings, but two 20-story buildings requires a lot of lights!

Before I write more about these challenges, let me show you the (almost) completed model. It was definitely tricky to photograph such a large build at home, so please excuse the somewhat cheesy gradient background that was put in to hide some of shortcomings in my photo setup.

The construction of the floors are very simple with no exciting techniques. Notice the hole in the floor which is for the cabling for the lights.

To simplify setup and get the angles correct, each floor has a small angled contraption in it’s center which allows me to stack the floors like pancakes. Two 2×4 bricks on the underside of each floor slots into the contraption to keep it in place.

The lights were custom made by my friend Sigurd Refvik, and consist of:

  • 2 USB connector cables, each having 5 female plugs to attach the lights
  • 10 USB cables with 4 diodes attach to a regular 1×2 LEGO plate. The cables are very thin and easy to incorporate into the build.

No small task indeed, with 40 LED’s to solder in addition to all the USB plugs, so huge thanks to Sigurd for his efforts! Each tower has one of the USB connector cables stretching through the floors, with a light cable attached every 4th floor.

Part of the landscape around the towers

To create the landscape around the towers, I used mostly a combination of curved bricks and the relatively new curved tiles, and a lot of bamboo leaves for the greenery. The layout is not 100% accurate, but I tried to keep as many as the key elements as possible.

One thing you may have noticed about the lights are the yellowish lights that bleeds through into the areas that don’t have LEDs. This is is due to the white plates being somewhat translucent, and giving the white light a yellowish hue. After taking the photos I have tried to alleviate this problem somewhat by adding an extra layer of plates to the affected areas, so hopefully the model will look a bit better on display at the exhibition.

That’s all for now, thank you for reading (if you got this far) and hope you enjoyed it!

KIS – Kistefos Museum

When I was invited to build something for the FORMGIVING exhibition, one of the buildings that fascinated me was the new Kistefos Museum in Jevnaker, Norway. Serving as both infrastructure, architecture and a sculpture, this new museum will truly transform the way guests experience their visit. I recommend checking out the BIG homepage for to get the full story and idea behind KIS: https://big.dk/#projects-kis

When trying to recreate this building as a LEGO model, the biggest challenge is as you may have guessed the twist. I also wanted to avoid adding any support pillars to the bridge which I felt would ruin the look.

The image above shows what I ended up with. Basically the twist consists of a series of 2 studs wide elements connected with Technic pins. The rotation of each element is kept in place with some bricks (not shown) limiting how far it can rotate. The only way to make sure the construction was strong enough was to actually build it, and then let it sit on my shelf to see if it would keep in place or start to sag. After a test period of 4-5 months with no problems I gave it the green light.

Here is the finished model, with interior LED lights. The lights are custom made by my friend Sigurd Refvik who also did the lighting for my second build for FORMGIVNING – namely COCO – Grove at Grand Bay. I will write a bit more detailed about the lights in an upcoming blog post about COCO.

Hope you enjoyed reading, and if you are in Copenhagen be sure to check out the exhibition! https://dac.dk/udstillinger/formgiving-big/

PAN – Panda House

The Panda House is the home of the Copenhagen Zoo’s two new pandas. In a collaboration between the Zoo and the Copenhagen LEGO Store I was asked to build a model of this, to be exhibited in the LEGO Store.

The building have almost no straight lines anywhere, and the shape is representation of the yin and yang with the curved separation between the two enclosures. The build also features a lot of greenery to portray the kind of lush environment of pandas natural habitat.

The trickiest feature to make was the round walkway going all the way around the build, with lots of experimentation at the start to get the right diameter of the ring but still keep it reasonably sturdy.

When it comes to scale the build had to be a bit skewed, with slightly different scale for the different elements of the build. This was due to the desire to incorporate LEGO minifigures, while still being able to fit the build into a display case of a certain size. One consequence of this is that the area for the panda looks smaller in the build than in real life.

Due to all the rounded shapes many very bit intensive techniques had to be used, pushing the number of pieces used quite high, to around 10,000. This is a very rough number though, as the method used for organic building is very iterative and keeping track of usage is not easy.

All in all it has been a fun challenge to build, and I’m really happy with how it turned out!