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How Did We Choose Our Forms? A Story About Legos

How Did We Choose Our Forms? A Story About Legos - The Bright Angle

We don't want to be confined by molds.

I see molds as tools - as stamps even. Well, who's to say that these stamps can't be dynamic blocks, Legos, or puzzles that can be played with? I love playing! Doesn't everyone?

So we work backwards. Instead of designing one shape, we design shapes to design more shapes. I know, it sounds like backtracking, but it's quite the opposite. It's reverse engineering. 

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I recall getting the Millennium Falcon Lego kit when I was a kid. I was so excited to follow the directions and put that thing together! But guess what? There was a piece missing. I was a neurotic type of kid, so naturally this made me incredibly upset. I don’t even remember what piece was missing. I'm sure it was tiny and trivial. Being given only one set of rules with one possible result really frustrated me. 

For the sake of the story, I cried as I ripped up the directions.  Although my parents were perturbed by my reaction, they probably found it comical: the little things it took to upset a kid! So they slid another box of my old Legos towards me, saying something that was likely wise and reassuring.

So there I was with this box of old Legos that I had already played with this entirely new spaceship that was going to be awesome if I could only complete it like the directions said. Back then, all the Legos had those little bumps, registration marks, to hold them together. So while I wiped my snot and tears off of my face I sunk my hand into the old Lego basket and pulled out some blocks.

Normally I like to follow the rules, but this time I couldn't, because the Legos had cheated me! That brilliant system was modular. So I found another Lego from my old collection that fit and stuck it on there, but it was a different color. This also bothered me (not to mention I was covered in snot and tears and will probably never play with Legos again.) I systematically began dismembering this almost-awesome spaceship and placing new parts where there was an empty space for another block to make the colors match.






Hours later, I had run out of stackable Legos and was left with something that didn't even remotely resemble the Millennium Falcon. This was significant for me. It was one of my first memories of problem solving. I realized I did not just want to just follow directions. I wanted to make my own parameters - to not feel stuck. I began to see the potential in parts, especially when they are set up to play with, when they are interchangeable, when they have options.

Decades later, in comes The Bright Angle… What would be next after the Flagship Collection? Design another thing and get excited about it and then feel stuck? It is just not who I am.

So, we had to create Legos, modular parts where there was no wrong way to assemble them and no directions to follow. Of course, to start dreaming up this modular system of interchangeable parts, we needed dimensional design parameters. How in the world did the industrial designers at Lego decide that this would be the size of a Lego and this is how they would fit together?

Then, how in the world did they commit to that knowing that would be their thing forever?