The brand is told, brick by brick, in an exhibition in Paris

The brand is told, brick by brick, in an exhibition in Paris


Wherever you stand, it is impossible not to see it. A massive tree sits in the heart of the Joseph gallery (Paris 3rd). A squirrel lodged in a cavity, a woodpecker drumming on the 3.20 m high trunk, this sculpture is full of life… and is made entirely of Lego bricks. It took 500,000 and 900 hours of work to design The tree of longevitycenterpiece of 90 years of creativity dedicated to the famous Danish brand.

The anniversary exhibition opened its doors on July 6, in an area of ​​850 m² and two floors. The opportunity to retrace the history of this toy empire, brick by brick.

From a wooden duck to Harry Potter

Founded in 1932 by Danish carpenter Ole Kirk Christiansen, Lego was first a wooden toy company. His first product? A duck on wheels. A collector’s item visible for the first time in France and which does not fail to surprise visitors.

It was later, in 1958, that Godtfred, on an idea from his father Ole, filed the patent for the Lego brick as we know it, interlocking. The Lego system was born and with it the most famous brick on the toy market – the parts produced at the time are still compatible with those produced in 2022…

The first minifigurines were born in 1978 and with them the first themed ranges: Lego Castle et Lego Space, which remain in the current catalog of the brand. Over the decades, licenses have multiplied. The universes of Star Wars, Harry Potter or Ninjagoamong others, were entitled to their versions in Lego…

Children, adults, artists

Back to the exhibition. Under the watchful eye of his grandmother, Sacha, 5, tries to build a dragon in ninety seconds – the challenge is proposed by the gallery’s animators. “Lego is a family story, says Marie-Jeanne, 76, my son played with his bucket of bricks when he was a child and today it is my grandson who has collected them and who is have fun with. »

Make no mistake about it, not all adults have stopped construction. The Afol [pour Adults Fans Of Lego] represent 20% of the brand’s turnover. The various dioramas in the exhibition were also designed by building associations such as Ch’ti Lug or Brisy. These models are full of details and references that immerse visitors in the corridors of Hogwarts in search of the Chamber of Secrets or in the trenches of the Battle of Hoth between the Rebels and the Galactic Empire…

The brand also inspires contemporary artists who divert the primary use of bricks. Works to which Lego and the Joseph gallery grant a space allowing the public to discover universes overflowing with creativity, such as that of Jan Vormann, a Franco-German sculptor who “repairs” terracotta brick walls with very colored.

Bricks and the environment

“We must take care of the builders of tomorrow and the world in which they evolve”, slips to 20 Minutes Carole Guck, communications manager for Lego France. The exhibition, which obviously partly serves as a marketing showcase, is an opportunity for the company to highlight its commitments in terms of diversity, accessibility – in particular with bricks in Braille – and environmental responsibility.

In 2014, Lego ended its commercial partnership with the oil company Shell. Since then, the Danish brand has replaced the plastic packaging of its boxes with recycled paper bags or produced bricks from sustainably sourced sugar cane – measures that reduce, at the margin, its environmental cost. Its objective, she claims, is to offer bricks made from sustainable plastic by 2030 and to limit its environmental footprint.

Bricks made from recycled PET plastic could replace the current ABS plastic – criticized for being environmentally unfriendly to produce. For the time being, they only exist in the form of prototypes, a copy of which is exhibited at the Joseph gallery. What is certain is that if ten years from now, the Legos will perhaps have less oil, their fans will still have as many ideas.

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