Saturday, January 10, 2009

It All Begins With A Brick

There are few things that remain pretty much the same in the last 50 years. LEGO is one of them.

LEGO celebrated its 50th anniversary last year. When I take a look at the shiny, perfectly smooth plastic blocks today, they are still the same as those I have played with many years ago. It is amazing that this famous and popular toy has not aged in any way. How I wish I too can preserve my youth the LEGO way.

I grew up in an era when kids were not showered with new toys every other day. I had to learn to be contented with the same toy over a long time. It was during such time that LEGO was seen as god-sent as it allowed me to play with it over and over again. I do not consider my creations then impressive by any standard but it never failed to bring me endless fun.

I do not play with it anymore but I know it has not lost its charm.

Last month, Malaysia announced the plan to build a LEGOLAND Park in Iskandar Malaysia and it is expected to be opened in 2013. When completed, it will be the centerpiece of a 600,000 m2 integrated complex.

There are currently 4 other LEGOLAND Parks. The largest and the oldest LEGOLAND Billund opened in 1968. Outside Copenhagen, it has to be the most popular tourist attraction in Denmark.

The other parks did not come along until almost 30 years later when LEGOLAND Windsor in England opened in 1996, followed by LEGOLAND California in 1999. The newest LEGOLAND Deutschland was opened in 2002.

If the Malaysians are excited about the planned LEGOLAND, they are showing their euphoria with hard cash. By 2013, more than RM3bn would have been poured into the integrated complex to house LEGOLAND Malaysia. Being the first Legoland in East Asia, Malaysia does have a good reason to look forward to it.

With LEGO being a familiar brand in Asian families, LEGOLAND Malaysia may just be the hope for Malaysia to draw tourists from its very populous neighbors.

So what exactly can you find in a Legoland?

To begin with, all Legolands are theme parks and they have the usual attractions such as rides and kiddish displays. You can also find roller-coasters but they are made milder to suit the young, who are their main customers.

The main distinguishing characteristic of Legolands has to be the awesome models and structures made of LEGO bricks. All the Legolands have a mini village with models of landmarks which are all made from millions of LEGO bricks, from scratch.

Legolands hire 'builders' to construct all the structures found the the theme park. Just imagine, you are paid to play LEGO!

Well, not exactly. The builders are required to design and build attractive structures to lure the young or the young-at-hearts. The models are usually made to human scale or larger and are a lot more complex that those played at home.

If you are considering a career switch and LEGO happens to be your love, this job seems perfect for you. Being artistic would definitely help but being passionate is even more crucial.

A general model builder at LEGOLAND Windsor gets between £19,000-£30,000+. There are currently about a dozen of them and it may not be easy to break in unless you have a nice credential in art and design and an impressive portfolio.

Want that job but prefer to be nearer to home? Well, getting a place at the upcoming LEGOLAND Malaysia might just be the answer for you. Start working on your credential and you have from now till 2013 to prepare for your dream job!

Now, go find your old LEGO set and begin your practice now.

"Architecture began when two bricks were put together." - Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (Modernish Architect)


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