Shopping at LEGO or Amazon?
Please use our links: LEGO.com Amazon
As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Interviews from Fan Media Days: Modular Building Series, Creator Expert, and LEGO Architecture

I had so much fun interviewing Jamie Berard about Creator Expert and the Modular Building Series, and Rok Zgalin Kobe about the LEGO Architecture theme earlier this year.  It's rare to get an opportunity to get inside the minds of the creative genius designers at LEGO, so I thought you might enjoy some selected highlights from these interviews.


Highlights from: ɪɴᴛᴇʀᴠɪᴇᴡ: Modular Building Series with Jamie Berard

We discussed how Downtown Diner, and Parisian Restauraunt represented two major turning points in the series...

Jamie Berard: "Some people would say there are two stages of the modular, with #10243 Parisian Restaurant starting the second expression because we put more detail inside the building and focused a bit more on storytelling. As we approached the 10 year mark, we needed to be careful that we didn’t stay on auto-pilot, where it becomes too familiar and people can just predict the next one."


I surprised that one of the earlier sets wasn't very well received initially:

Jamie Berard: "I remember when we did the #10197 Fire Brigade. That one was not very well received in that people were horrified that it was too American; ... They said that the flag is hideous, although that I appreciate that and agree... Then they said it only has two floors, and everybody knows the modular have three floors. They had already defined in their mind what it should be."

We also got a chance to talk about how Creator Expert helped bring Teal back...

Jamie Berard: "We considered Medium Azure and some other blues. All of these complement the Dark Pink color we wanted to use for the convertible in this set. ... we thought this set was a nice way to bring teal back, and bring it back with a quantity of bricks.

We also talked about storytelling (ex: money laundering), and highlights his two favorite sets in the series! Link to full interview.




Highlights from: ɪɴᴛᴇʀᴠɪᴇᴡ: LEGO Creator Expert with Jamie Berard

Since my passion is LEGO Architecture, we talked at length about the large Architecture models (like Big Ben) in the Creator Expert series. I asked how they pick which buildings to create as sets:

Jamie Berard: "It is harder for us to accomplish contemporary, clean architecture in a large model, because of our target audience is adults. ... If you try to re-create any of the well-known architecture that is too minimalist ... in a LEGO version it comes across a bit naïve ... On the flip side, there’s a lot of great classic architecture that you can imagine in LEGO and know it’s gonna be great. I’d say anything “old world” looks great in LEGO because we have a lot of opportunities for details, texture, implying different stonework or materials."

I was surprised to hear that they struggle to wrap there heads around what deserves the "Creator Expert" label.

Jamie Berard: "But how do you perceive what makes it Expert? This is an internal question we are trying to resolve…"

We also learned which building in the Creator Expert was most challenging to get right, and might have still been a bit disappointing in the end.  It was fun hearing how much enthusiasm he has about his work, something you may have already noticed when watching his Designer Videos.  Link to full interview.



Highlights from: ɪɴᴛᴇʀᴠɪᴇᴡ: Rok Žgalin Kobe on LEGO Architecture

I started with the same question I asked Jamie - how do you decide what building to make into a LEGO Architecture set? Is it based on market research, your passion, or to coincide with when a new LEGO store is opening?

Rok Žgalin Kobe: "It’s actually a combination of them all, and really depends on the model. One might stem from a good idea of a great model that we think is feasible, another might stem from the underlying ... We need to take into account everything from how many sets we’ll have that year, and the price points we would like to have them at, to how the overall portfolio looks like. Of course, we are glad for the ones that just work out."



He showed prototypes of LEGO House and Guggenheim models.

I also enjoyed the deeper look at a few specific sets like Statue of Liberty, Great Wall, and the Guggenheim.  He shared some of the unique challenges and pleasures in being one of the few people at LEGO with a background in Architecture. The whole interview includes more photos of the Guggenheim and LEGO House prototypes.


I hope you enjoyed the stories behind these great LEGO sets!

Sincerely,
---tom

P.S. For practical reasons, these are just a few of my favorite excerpts from the full interviews at brickarchitect.com .  
Arpiedmcc0FowlerBricksthedingman5BumblepantsAstrobricksLego_StarGothamConstructionCoBaby_Yodastluxsid3windrMaffyDstevecook132tomahawkerbandit778jnscoelhomessyricecake

Comments

  • henrysunsethenrysunset Member Posts: 232
    I forgot to ask—What was the most interesting thing you learned in these interviews?  (I'm always trying to learn how to ask better questions.)
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,488
    Good for you for transcribing yours! I've done my Jamie Berard one but haven't edited it down yet.
  • henrysunsethenrysunset Member Posts: 232
    @Huw - I transcribed it on the flight home :-)  Takes forever, though.

    I'm hoping to post the interview with David about LEGO Friends soon too!

  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,488
    Yes it does take ages and the frustrating thing is that the resultant articles don't get read by as many people as, say, our reviews, so I often wonder whether to bother.
  • ArpieArpie UKMember Posts: 28
    Please do @Huw I love reading interviews with the designers, discovering the process of making a set is fascinating.  It's also great community engagement and is one of the things that differentiates fan sites like Brickset from more average consumer websites.  It is disappointing to hear they generate lower clicks though and I can understand that it may not make it worth the time.

    @henrysunset thank you for sharing your interview, which has also introduced me to your site!  I would say the most interesting was seeing how the perceptions of the kits by fans (as exampled by the firehouse) has an affect on the designers and what they think about it.  To be honest though both interviews with Jamie and Rok were fascinating.
    BumblepantsAstrobricksstluxMaffyDtomahawkerkiki180703
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,488
    Don't worry -- I do intend to do them but, well, since the fan media days I've either been away or it's been sweltering here so I haven't found to motivation to do them yet!
  • sid3windrsid3windr BelgiumMember Posts: 1,421
    Oddly enough (apparently?) I'm more interested in interviews with designers than reviews... but I can understand that's not the case for everyone :-)

    stluxMuftak1
  • stluxstlux LuxembourgMember Posts: 2,239
    I also rather like these interviews with designers. Many thanks for sharing these @henrysunset, and looking forward to what @Huw will post.

    My favourite highlight from these interviews: 
    Kobe: I have to ensure that the model is strong enough, but the next step is to prevent another problem—not to be a stabbing hazard. You have to assume that a child or anyone else building it might fall on the model. You are looking for a compromise between being too strong and safe.

    Makes perfect sense (you don't want a "Stabbed by Lego" headline), but still found it hilarious when reading it!
    560Heliport
  • sid3windrsid3windr BelgiumMember Posts: 1,421
    edited July 2018
    sid3windr said:

    Thanks for the interviews @henrysunset !
    Forum eated my text!
    Baby_Yoda
  • Baby_YodaBaby_Yoda The world's backsideMember Posts: 1,268
    ^ And your grammar!
    sid3windrAstrobricks
  • benbacardibenbacardi EnglandMember Posts: 418
    ^ the forum ate somebody's Grandma?!
    gmonkey76AstrobricksBaby_Yoda
  • AstrobricksAstrobricks Minnesota, USMember Posts: 2,551
    ^ eated somebody’s grandma
    Baby_Yoda
Sign In or Register to comment.

Shopping at LEGO.com or Amazon?

Please use our links: LEGO.com Amazon

Recent discussions Categories Privacy Policy

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Brickset.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, the Amazon.com.ca, Inc. Associates Program and the Amazon EU Associates Programme, which are affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.