April 13, 2010, LEGO Idea Conference : Bilund, Denmark. Scientists, academics, and technology innovators from around the world gathered in Bilund for the LEGO Idea Conference. The concept was innovation through the increasingly integrated worlds of technology and building using the imagination. The commonalities and analogies between LEGO, software and building architecture were highlighted in the sessions.
But what does it do?
Mads Nipper, head of innovation at LEGO opened with a video – the scene from the s movie, Big. The Tom Hank character is a boy trapped in the body of a man. After listening to a lengthy explanation of why market forces would make the Gobot toy successful – Tom Hanks plays with the toy and says “I don’t get it.” Market conditions aside, an ideas longevity comes from its appeal factor.
Mads commented that for girls, LEGO models appealed to them with aesthetic & context. Where boys would immediately ask, “But what does it do?”
Some of the ladies raised an eyebrow at this comment and believe this differentiation only goes as far as the appeal value of model. The general consensus was that once you add technology as a integrated given (more on this later), the lines differentiating girls and boys blur. Girls want to know: “What does it do?” when they spot a motor attached to a LEGO model.
“architecture is the concept of reshaping the surface of our planet to conform to the way we want to live.”
Foundation work takes 1/3 of the time and cost
The keynote speaker and architect, Bjarke Ingels comments that the initial phases of a build are the most patience testing as nothing is visible for a third of the time, as foundation is work is done for plumbing, lighting, wiring – and then suddenly the work starts “coming off the ground” and you can see progress.
Hello from the Queen and Goodbye from the Princess
Bjarke’s team is also working on another project to build Sweden’s Arlanda airport hotel. Instead of a conventional box, it is shaped like a triangle. The white exterior of the impressionistic building undulates around the panes of glass. From a distance, arriving from the airport, the walls become a canvas. Each side shows the profile of 3 royal ladies of Sweden. Queen Victoria welcomes you from the airport. “And on the way out you see the beautiful face of Princess Mandy, so you are sure to come back,” says Bjarke.
A subtle secondary layer paints the canvas at night, painting the image with color. How is it done? The rooms inside the hotel are painted in colors to enhance the rasterized image.
Little Mermaid goes to China
Bjarke Ingels identifies architecture as the concept of reshaping the surface of our planet to conform to the way we want to live.
He was also the mastermind responsible for moving the Little Mermaid to the People’s Republic of China and tells the story of pleading to the Parliament of China. “This was during the economic crisis so that day Parliament convened for 2 hours on the global economic bailout of China. The remaining 2 hours were spent in discussion about relocating the Little Mermaid.”
Apparently the Chinese (along with 150 other nationalities in the world), had grown up with Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales and would enjoy a pavilion which showcases the original Little Mermaid. Apparently the exhibit was due to open May 1st. Showing pictures of the work in progress, which looked very much like…um… a work in progress, Bjarke comments - “There is a substantial part of the Chinese population working on this project”.