LEGO® House sets a new standard for interactive visitor experiences
With the opening of LEGO® House in Billund, Denmark a unique 12,000 square meter creative universe was revealed for LEGO fans all over the world. The LEGO® House, designed by the architectural firm BIG (Bjarke Ingelse Group), is made of 21 huge white bricks stacked onto each other. The heart of the LEGO® House are the experience zones: four fully interactive play areas, a gallery with LEGO creations and a large exhibition about the history of LEGO. It has taken four years to build the most unique LEGO experience in the world, located around the corner from where the iconic LEGO brick was invented. True to the “learning through play” philosophy of LEGO, all elements of LEGO® House are a celebration of creativity and emphasize the endless possibilities of the brick.
In order to produce all interactive experiences and interior objects, LEGO selected Kubik as main contractor responsible for design development and overall project management. For this prestigious project, Kubik teamed-up with three Dutch companies: Bruns (interactive exhibits and interior elements), Mansveld (AV and IT implementation) and Kiss the Frog (interactive media and creative technology). All parties have an impressive track record in their field and have worked together before in different configurations for other international museum projects.
Based on the designs from LEGO, these four experts presented to LEGO a holistic, turnkey approach to develop and deliver the Experience Zones and Galleries in the most efficient way. In close co-operation with the LEGO Experience Designers, extensive sessions were organized to fine-tune the designs, select samples, develop proto-types and organize testing sessions. From the very beginning we knew that working for LEGO would be a big challenge. Not especially because of its complex exhibition design but because of the ambitious, legislation, regulation, and obligations imposed by LEGO. Their policy requires a certain way of working which is an expansion of the Bruns methodology for regular projects. In terms of safety, durability, sustainability, childproof and materialization, LEGO requires the highest performance. We are immensely proud that we managed to meet the high standards of LEGO and we would like to thank our partners and suppliers for their flexibility and perseverance.
We started the LEGO project with an extensive sample process.
Basic elements of the exhibition where built for testing, being improved and finally approved by LEGO. The next step was the engineering phase which was really typified by the LEGO golden ratio which is based on the scale of their main LEGO brick 1 : 18,75. A measurement we had to implement in every single exhibition element. This was not always an easy puzzle for our engineers! Like integrating hardware (not flexible at all) into the specific design of exhibition furniture. In the production phase LEGO requested ‘declaration of origins’ and ‘declaration of conformities’ for every single material we proposed to use in the LEGO® House. This led to an enormous documentation structure that emerged out of all the different types of materials we used. It didn’t only make Bruns dig deep into the details of materialization but also stretch our suppliers into doing the necessary research to get all documentation aligned. LEGO insists on these declarations because of their own trade policy as well as their continuous strive for using high quality materials in serving their customers.
The LEGO® House zones are based on four different colours, each symbolizing a special aspect of play and learning. Red is for creative skills, Blue is for cognitive skills, Green is for social skills and Yellow is for emotional skills. In each zone, unique interactive exhibits were constructed helping children to develop these skills in a playful way.
Every piece of furniture is recognizable as LEGO (including the known LEGO detailing) and made entirely of solid material, even moving parts. LEGO has chosen this solid material because of the high level of durability, that it looks and feels like LEGO and that it has the best color authenticity (compared to other options). Even the showcases are built with the same solid material with specific LEGO details (like the known LEGO studs). Only glass is visible, the objects and the light sources/fixtures and all further techniques and systems are hidden. If we’ve done our job right, you will not notice you’re looking at a showcases because it’s completely integrated in the LEGO design. Another true LEGO signature in the exhibition are the big blow-ups which we milled and painted/decorated. The blow ups, different LEGO characters, LEGO plants, a LEGO spider, a Duplo train and others recognizable elements are places as eye catchers and decoration in the different zones.
In 4 different batches we shop approved the whole exhibition at Bruns in Bergeijk. During this occasions LEGO double checked on safety, durability and other important aspects. Bruns carried out several risk assessments to see what possible risks might occur in different scenarios. Obviously, the aim is to avoid unforeseen and risky situations in an exhibition where children of all ages are playing.
The entire project is engineered, produced and assembled in a period of 10 months (October 2016 until July 2017) of which the installation in Billund has been done in de last 3 months (May 2017 until July 2017). With a team of more than 95 Bruns professionals, more than 450 pallets, 28 trucks that included around 30 different type of tables, 25 diverse benches, and 10 big wall elements, 150 different kind of showcases, 3200 LEGO studs, and much more, we have managed to complete our part of the LEGO project in July to be successfully opened for the public in September 2017.
LEGO stands out as an extremely open organization. We have experienced them as a friendly and very enthusiastic team of employees, passionately working on their project. In spite of the enormous time pressure of the project an open discussion was always possible, everything was negotiable, there were no problems (everything was soluble) and every team member was treated equally. A pleasant environment that flourished throughout the entire project and we are very grateful to LEGO. With the opening of LEGO® House on September 28, a very intensive but pleasant cooperation period ended. Each partner was tested to live-up to LEGO’s theme: only the best is good enough. In a true team effort with LEGO all companies indeed gave their best and were able to fulfil these requirements to deliver a truly unique visitor experience.