Brick History and Brick Wonders Features LEGO Exhibits by Warren Elsmore

Early this month, we covered a single LEGO MOC display in Fort William, Scotland at the UK. It was a brick-built historical recreation of an ancient Scottish hillfort. That was just one display. But this month two other Scottish historical sites will soon be hosting their own multi-display LEGO exhibits. These are the Brick History and Brick Wonders displays, both composed of LEGO fan creations by LEGO artist Warren Elsmore and his team. Brick Wonders is set to debut in Stirling Castle this coming Saturday, September 29, at the former Scottish Royal Residence and tourist attraction Stirling Castle.

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Brick Wonders will feature brick recreations of “amazing sights from around the world”, with equal emphasis on historical locations and modern-day complexes. As seen in the photo, they can range from old-style housing to aircraft, space shuttles and other vehicles.

In the meantime, Warren Elsmore’s other LEGO MOC exhibit, Brick History, is straightforward in its subject matter. It’s described as a journey through some of world history’s pivotal moments, from Pompeii to London Bridge to Mozart to Martin Luther King. The display kicked off just this weekend, September 22, this time at Fort George, Highland.

Brick History 2- credit Warren Elsmore

Both Brick History and Brick Wonders are included in the usual admission price for visitors at their respective venues of Stirling Castle and Fort George. Brick Wonders will remain at Stirling until January 23 of next year, while Brick History will finish off at Fort George earlier, on January 6.

LEGO Pop-Up Stores To Be Introduced in the US Starting This Year

The LEGO Group has announced a new retail concept store to hit US stores this year. Dubbed as LEGO Pop-Up Stores, this initiative will offer a new different shopping experience as compared to that of LEGO Brand Stores. In fact, the very first Pop-Up Store already went live last Friday in Manchester, Connecticut. According to the LEGO Ambassador Network, the LEGO Pop-Up Stores is an experimental marketing approach that allows LEGO fans who does not have access to any local LEGO Brand Stores to experience the same, though there are notable differences. So, how are they different? According to the blog post:

Whats the difference between a Pop-Up store and a typical LEGO Brand store?

  • Yes, you will be able to earn and redeem LEGO VIP points at Pop-Up stores.
  • There is nota Pick-a-Brick wall or Build-a-Mini station.
  • There are noLEGO Brand store Passport stamps available at Pop-Up stores.
  • There will notbe monthly minibuild activities or other in store events.
  • The product prices will bethe same at LEGO Brand and Pop-Up stores including any sales.
  • Pop-Up stores will tryto offer the same gift with purchase promotions.
  • Pop-Up stores will have new employeesbut also at least one experienced employee from a local LEGO Brand store.

Though these differences may seem easy to overlook and the initiative is of having a sort of “make-shift” LEGO Store is a welcomed gesture from the LEGO, I hope that they will find a way to offer the same gift with purchase (GWP) sets in all Pop-Up Stores as well.

Furthermore, since this project is still in its experimental stages, each of the six LEGO Pop-Up Stores to be opened across the US will be transient, operating only in a few weeks. A sign outside the store will remind customers and LEGO fans how many days are left until the LEGO Pop-Up Store wraps it up.

So what do you think of the concept behind the LEGO Pop-Up Store? Do you think it will take off? What other things or activities do you want to see in the store to make it more appealing? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

LEGO Ranks First Among Europe’s Most Reputable Companies for 2018

In this day and age, the public’s perception on anything and everything can come a long way towards the formation of opinions. Statistically gauging the reputation levels of businesses, organizations and even nations has been the work of the private research and advisory agency the Reputation Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Recently, the Reputation Institute conducted a survey to determine who among Europe’s most reputable companies is considered first among the countries of the UK, Spain, France, Germany and Italy. A total of 87,000 general public respondents from those nations provided the data mined by RI.

According to the Reputation Institute’s “RepTrak” rankings, Denmark’s The LEGO Group is the company with the highest public reputation in the EU5. It’s followed on the list by German industrial firm Bosch GmbH and Swiss luxury watchmaker Rolex. The response to the survey on reputation is a measure of an everyday person’s “emotional bond” with a company that is quantified.

The RepTrak survey is the RI’s standardized framework that “reveals how this deep connection can drive supportive behaviour such as the intent to purchase, likelihood to recommend and willingness to work for the company” according to the Institute’s press release.

For completion’s sake, we will now include a Top 10 list of Europe’s Most Reputable Companies in 2018 as compiled by the Reputation Institute.

  1. LEGO
  2. Bosch
  3. Rolex
  4. Sony
  5. Samsung
  6. Canon
  7. Michelin
  8. Walt Disney Company
  9. Adidas
  10. Amazon

LEGO’s stellar corporate-level reputation according to RI is due to “commitment to building a strong corporate brand, investment in corporate social responsibility and a deep sense of purpose to drive greater levels of engagement among its key stakeholders.” Despite some hiccups in its recent earning reports, LEGO does just that.

Brickset and Fairy Bricks’ Bikes to Billund Charity Ride Starts Friday

Back in August, a team of four was assembled by LEGO-donating charitable organization Fairy Bricks to undertake a grueling journey for the sake of fundraising. Their goal is to journey from London to LEGO House in Denmark covering the land journey by bicycle: the Bikes to Billund charity cycle ride.

That time has come at last. This Friday, September 21, the Bikes to Billund Team has begun their trip from the Leicester Square LEGO Store in London, to Harwich and their ferry towards Rotterdam, and finally their main cycling leg through the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark to arrive in Billund.

Already the trip is proving to be a genuine endurance challenge, considering that European windstorm Ali has just passed through the UK on Wednesday and Thursday. But the cycling team were determined to start their ride on schedule, so we wish them best of luck.

Meanwhile, the fundraising campaign portion of Bikes to Billund seems to be proceeding smoothly; the sponsorships pledged so far helped Fairy Bricks to raise over £6,000 in donations as of this writing. While the donation drive will last until December, everyone who donated before the time the bike team arrives in Billund will be part of a raffle, with several winners who will receive customized MOC models of the Fairy Bricks charity van, called “Daenerys”.

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For those interested in keeping tabs of the Bikes to Billund team on their way to LEGO House, you can watch their progress on our fellow LEGO news source and online set guide Brickset, via their official Facebook and Twitter.

Towers of Tomorrow with LEGO Bricks Exhibit at Halifax Disovery Centre Museum

In Halifax, Nova Scotia one can find an interactive science museum run by a non-profit charity. Its mission statement is to stimulate interest, enjoyment and understanding of science and technology for all children and families coming to visit. Its name: Discovery Centre. And one of its upcoming exhibits might, for a time, end up getting it mistaken for a LEGOLAND Discovery Center, like the actual Canadian one in LDC Toronto. Starting this Friday, September 21, Discovery Centre at Halifax Seaport will play host to the Towers of Tomorrow with LEGO Bricks exhibit. Still, a selected student group from Saint Mary’s Elementary School and members of the media got a sneak peek at the display on Wednesday. They were not disappointed.

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The Towers of Tomorrow with LEGO Bricks are a series of impressive 1:200 scale-model skyscraper LEGO builds that were built for Discovery Centre by a team of LEGO Certified Professionals (LCPs). The 20 buildings featured are among the most familiar skyscrapers in the world, with hometown Canadian giant the Toronto CN Tower, accompanied by the Empire State Building, China’s twisty Shanghai Tower, Australia’s Infinity Tower in Brisbane, and (of course) the wondrous edifices found in Dubai, the UAE.

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Each tower is accompanied by a detailed fact corner talking about the history of the actual buildings and their LEGO replicas featured there. Once visitors have gone through the Towers of Tomorrow, they can also try their hands at building structures with LEGO thanks to the free-play construction area with over 200,000 LEGO pieces of various sizes and colors; there’s also an early-age Duplo zone.

The Halifax Discovery Centre will keep the Towers of Tomorrow with LEGO Bricks display around up until January 4. That’s plenty of time for interested visitors to drop in. It’ll feel like an actual LDC there, save for the lack of LEGO products for sale.

LEGO Finds New Global Director of Play in Scottish Highlands Head Teacher

There are always many ways to tackle a problem or accomplish an objective, and The LEGO Group has a variety of approaches under its umbrella to promote its message of learning through play, such as with LEGO Foundation. This educational branch of LEGO has been looking for a new Global Director of Play, and they found him in the Scottish Highlands.

Ollie Bray, age 40, has been serving as head teacher for the Kingussie High School since five years ago, where he had set aside the regular curriculum for the 450-student institution for “joyful” project-based learning. But now LEGO Foundation is counting on him copy his success to everywhere in the world the LEGO Foundation reaches, as the foundation’s new Global Director of Play.

In his new job, Bray will find himself overseeing the LEGO Foundation’s global initiatives that seek to accomplish one of the brand’s most important points: connecting play with education.

According to him, “Learning through play is widely accepted in the early years and my job will be to find ways of extending it by incorporating it into the curriculum for older children.” This aligns with LEGO Foundation’s prevailing idea that current educational practices put “an outdated emphasis on standardized testing and rote learning” that prepares its students for the world “yesterday”, not today or tomorrow.

But Ollie Bray also opines that what education and learning needs is much less “fun” and more “enjoyment”; fun can potentially be without purpose, while adding joy to the purpose of education motivates students to identify problems and solve them.

And it seems other institutions, inspired by LEGO, are jumping into the “learning with play” bandwagon. The year before, the prestigious Cambridge University took on its first “Professor of Play”, Paul Ramchnadani, thanks to funding provided by the LEGO Foundation.

Source: The Guardian

The LEGO Group Becomes a 2019 “Adopt-the-Pig” Toy Bank Sponsor

The LEGO Group will never tire of its vision to spread the joys of building play for both fun and education, whether through their own campaigns or by linking up with educational and charitable foundations worldwide. Lately they have finalized a sponsorship with The Toy Foundation lasting nearly two years. And this time, the LEGO Group will be busy again since they are now named as TTF’s “Adopt-the-Pig” Toy Bank Sponsor for 2019.

The Toy Foundation, a children’s charity dedicated to giving toys and arranging fun playtime for children in need, has accepted LEGO as a sponsor for their Toy Bank initiative, for a period lasting from the rest of 2018 and the entirety of next year. To that effect, the Danish toy giant pledged it support by donating $10,000 to the charity, living up to its title of being an “Adopt-the-Pig” Toy Bank sponsor.

While the greater Toy Foundation primarily relies on privately donated toys for their charity work, their Toy Box program serves to receive bulk donations of toys from the very manufacturers themselves, which it then distributes to its various partner charities.

"Adopt-the-Pig" Toy Bank Sponsor

Jean Butler, executive director of The Toy Foundation, expressed the organization’s gratitude for the continuing generosity of The LEGO Group, which had made prior donations of its sets, minifigures and more to the Toy Box in years past.

“While the donation of toys is always critical, the funding we receive from individuals and corporate sponsors makes it possible for us to actually get toys into the hands of deserving kids all over the world,” says Butler. “LEGO’s sponsorship will help The Toy Bank bring the magic of play to more than a million children in need throughout the coming year.”

Source: ToyNews Online

Find Your New Recruit Campaign in Bristol, UK Features LEGO Minifigures

We’ve seen LEGO being used in realms well outside simple play, from building scientific equipment to being used to rally charitable donations. Now, it’s finding use in the UK, particularly in the west of England, to draw public attention to a growing problem: skill gap between recruits and available work.

Certain jobs net a particular set and level of skills gained from education or training, and the sad thing is, 70% of businesses in western England – almost three-fourths – have problems hiring employees to fill vacancies because the labor pool tends to lack in skilled workers. Bristol is such a case.

Skill West, a business advice outfit, has decided to launch a public campaign in the city to increase public awareness on skills gap that results in large numbers of job vacancies due to under and non-qualification. They’re using LEGO minifigures of people in various professions as part of the “Find Your New Recruit” encouragement drive.

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In line with this, Skills West is scattering work-themed LEGO minifigures in famous landmarks of Bristol. Any worker or business owner who finds these LEGO minifigures can take them back to their workplaces, snap a photo of the minifigure inside their offices, and post the pictures on Twitter under hash-tag #pledgeyoursupport.

Selfies of the “Find Your New Recruit” campaign minifigures will be entered into an online raffle, with winning employees/employers to be treated to an “experience day” courtesy of Skills West and their partners. The organization head Nicky Williams states that west England is in a low-unemployment rate period similar to 1975; he says that while good, in the long run that situation “intensifies the problems local businesses are having when it comes to finding skilled people to join their team.”

Experiences being discussed for “Find Your New Recruit” include trade apprenticing, on-the-job-training for students and career fairs. Williams hopes the campaign gets local businesses to offer these activities which Skills West will then match to individual jobseekers or employment organizations.

Source: Bristol Live

Who Needs Card Boards When You Have These Custom LEGO Nintendo Labo

Here’s a great MOC story and an excellent example of unintentional (but awesome) cross-brand interaction. Fans of video games, particularly of Nintendo, would know that their Switch console has been making waves with its potential for multi-functional abilities. This is reflected in their Labo gaming/toy-construction platform, one of its best-selling points. Nintendo Labo kits consist of cardboard patterns that are cut out, folded and assembled into “Toy-Con” components that attach to the Switch unit and controllers to create new gameplay experiences with compatible software. It’s innovative and fun, but cardboard isn’t a notably sturdy material for long-term gaming. But what if there’s an alternative for it? Why not a custom LEGO Nintendo Labo?

There is, if you ask industrial designer and AFOL Vimal Patel (vmln8r on YouTube). He’s taken LEGO Technic pieces and assembled them into more durable alternatives for the default cardboard constructs of Nintendo’s Labo kits for the Switch. His first attempts in April were a kickstand and steering wheel; now he’s back with more builds.

A new YouTube video put up by Patel demonstrates his latest custom LEGO Nintendo Labo components used instead of the Nintendo Labo’s cardboard Toy-Cons. First he demonstrates more Switch unit grips; then we go to his piano alternative (with conventional LEGO pieces mixed in the Technic), a new motorcycle handlebar racing controller, and a sturdy fishing rod for the corresponding Labo fishing game.

Why do the LEGO pieces work? That’s because regardless of the materials used for the Toy-Con attachments, they only need the kit-included reflective tapes placed on the areas indicated by the building instructions so that the Switch infrared sensors can detect them. For more on vmln8r’s LEGO Technic developments for Nintendo Labo, you can also visit his personal website here.

LEGO Star Wars Fans Launched Bricks for Hope, Building to Cure Charity Drive

LEGO Star Wars Fans is one of the many fandom groups you can find for the long-running Star Wars space opera franchise. They operate primarily as a Facebook Group and organize their activities as such, including their annual tradition of charity fundraising, like the one they recently finished for a children’s healthcare center in Georgia.

“Bricks for Hope, Building to Cure” was a just-concluded initiative by LEGO Star Wars Fans to drum up charity intended for Atlanta’s Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare. Thanks to online participants of the FB Group’s LEGO raffle prizes, they were able to put together a total check donation amounting to $3,700.

The LEGO Star Wars Fans donation was delivered to Aflac last week on Wednesday, September 12, by representatives of two of the group’s cosplay units, the 501st Georgia Garrison, Bespin Base – Rebel Legion and the Naast Clan, who appeared in costume and even brought several LEGO sets as gifts for the center’s young cancer patients.

Following an incident wherein members of the LEGO Star Wars Fans Facebook Group pitched in to financially aid one of their own who was diagnosed with a grave medical condition, this Star Wars fan community has been holding charity raffles every year in partnership with small LEGO retail business in Georgia State to donate to different medical and charitable beneficiaries.

The Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center official website has more details on how where charity from donors like LEGO Star Wars Fans will go.