How to Become a Lego Designer (and You Do Not Need a Degree in Design or Architecture) –

from Alessio Lana

Florian Müller: “As a kid, I used to build and rebuild with bricks, as everyone does, and in my teens, I even stopped.”

Florian Müller he is a 38-year-old German giant, he has a serene face, a distracted air and he does a dream job: he is a Lego designer. We meet him during the presentation of the new Vespa 125 made by the Danish company, a perfect copy of an icon from the 1960s that came from this man’s mind and hands, as in reality, until a few years ago it did not have much to do with design.

The abandonment and the restart

Born in Hamburg, since childhood, Müller has played with lego like many of us. “I didn’t do anything special, I built and rebuilt like everyone else does,” he says. “So, as is often the case, in adolescence he moves away from the bricks to embrace them again in adulthood.”between 25 and 26 years“. After degree in media design works in the digital transformation of companies and with this role he joined Lego in 2016. He is a technology consultant and programmer, nothing further from the design of new sets. “For me, it was a dream to work for Lego,” he says today next to “his” Vespa, while his CV contains other bestsellers of bricks such as. reproduction of Adidas Superstar sneakers and of Trafalgar Squarethe gingerbread house and the workshop.

From information technology to design

“Lego promotes employees’ hopes, follows their passions so I could participate in a selection of new designers,” Müller continues. While at the company, he worked on computers, actually continuing to build and invent new sets at home. “The process of becoming a designer is long and it consists of practical tests and interviews, “he explains,” but the first step is to bring your own portfolio, the constructions that have been devised and possibly the themes. “The theme is the line, the hat that encloses the different sets, such as Architecture, which includes world architecture’s most famous buildings, Duplo, dedicated to the little ones, or Creator, for expert builders.

The test

“After the first meeting, they took me to a room full of pieces, they were everywhere, and this is where different skill tests began. Then I had to come up with a new theme for kids I was going to build something sensible with only 10 pieces. I assure you that it is really difficult to design something with effect with the few bricks ». Müller would like to point out that the tests vary continuously, and therefore he can not “prepare” us except with practice. The test is practically in the dark.

Not just technology

Today, as a designer, he continues to be a “craftsman“Despite his computer skills and many ad hoc software created by Lego, Müller designs the new sets as they once did. “Let’s take the case of this Vespa 125,” he begins, “First of all, I got some pictures, lots of pictures of even the smallest details. Then I found the right scale, in this case I chose to start from the wheel, for example, and from there I made a sketch ».

Questions about feeling

The first step is, so to speak, done, and the designer begins to think about what pieces could make up the new model. The software helps him with the choice of color or shapes, but it is not enough. Man still has a fundamental role. “Dexterity is still basic: I spend time assembling, disassembling and trying different combinations until I find the right one. Then I compare it with the computer and then I go back and forth, back and forth between the pieces and the model on the computer ». But it can not stop at the software. In addition to being as true to the original as possible, in fact “a model should also be fun to assemble and the designer should know how to assess the “feeling”the feeling one gets from the experience of construction ».

All possible combinations

About 30 percent of the production process, Müller explains, is dedicated to the “construction experience,” while the rest is dedicated to how to divide the model into the steps we read in the manual. “In my work, I also have to think the best way to cut the model there are fun to build, easy to assemble and robust. Too many instructions are not comfortable and risk falling into your hands ». But that’s not all: there are other limits. Each model must have a level of complexity in accordance with the reference age and, as it is a commercial product, fall within predetermined price ranges. In short, a complex job where the human component remains predominant. Even for a computer guide.

March 3, 2022 (change March 6, 2022 | 17:01)

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