On Thursday October 29th, 2015 I made history by visiting the North American headquarters of LEGO Group, thus fulfilling a long-time dream of mine since childhood. This was made possible by the righteous chap Kevin Hinkle, who initially reached out to me on Flickr regarding my epic Nintendo-related creations. Kevin and I spent the afternoon touring the offices, whilst I saw a firsthand look at the design process those large LEGO sculptures you often see at Toys ‘Я’ Us or Legoland. I learned quite a bit about the company and its protocol, and I even met with a member of the LEGO Ideas team — the website for fan submissions — regarding possible ideas for potential new designs. As a memento, I gave Kevin one of my 3D Mario fire flower sprites, right after demonstrating my electronic LEGO DL-44 Blaster pistol and Dry Bones sprite statue! All in all, I’d say this might have been one of the best birthdays ever.
In front of the large brick art installation in front of one of the buildings.
Background: way back in fall 2014, I received a message on Flickr from a particular user who was rather fond of my Nintendo-related creations. This bloke was Kevin Hinkle, who was an employee of LEGO Group: in his message, he told me that if I would ever find my way to Connecticut, I would be personally invited to see their headquarters in person. I was more than excited to take a trip to check them out, but alas, at the time I didn’t own a car, and was unable to find a reliable way to get there. I assumed that within the next months or so, I’d receive some kind of pay raise at work, which would allow me to afford a car and insurance. A whole year later — in October 2015 — I finally obtained a 1999 Dodge Stratus designed to resemble a Stormtrooper helmet, and henceforth I contacted Kevin and took up his offer at last!
Our meeting was scheduled for the 29th — two days after my 31st birthday on the 27th, making this trip to Connecticut part of my birthday festivities. On the morning of the 29th, I left New York and set forth on a quest to Enfield, CT to visit a building I’ve longed for since childhood. The trip was pretty straightforward, except for the traffic outside of New York, which put a sight delay on the route by an hour. I reached the main building of the LEGO Group compound by around 11 AM, signed into the visitors center, and immediately took a photo of myself with an iconic Disney character statue. . .
LEGO gives me a huge Woody.
Shortly thereafter, Kevin met up with me, and gave me a grand tour of the compound! The LEGO compound is actually two large office buildings, and throughout one of the buildings, we took a look at a mini museum with some interesting displays about the history of my favorite toy company:
During this portion of the tour, I learned some interesting facts about LEGO Group, most notably their near-bankruptcy in the late 1990s, which was saved in part by the advent of Bionicle and with licensed themes. It’s worth noting, however, that despite adversity, this toy company managed to pull through and dominate the market share.
Although I personally didn’t see inside this room, I’d imagine it’s pretty epic within!
Admit it: it was a fun movie to watch in the theater, but we regretted buying it on DVD.
I wouldn’t actually go swimming in there if I were you.
You can’t spell “Connecticut” without “connect!”
Throughout the afternoon, Kevin showed me the call center where customer service representatives help customers obtain missing pieces from sets, then I got to see a firsthand experience at watching the construction of the giant life-size LEGO statues. That particular portion of the tour was actually top secret, thus I didn’t take any photos. Let’s just say I’ve seen some monumental pieces of brick artwork, and learned some interesting design techniques. All in all, I definitely enjoyed my time at LEGO Group’s U.S. headquarters, and more than fulfilled a dream of mine since an early age.
A hand-carved wooden plaque to commemorate the 80th anniversary of LEGO. Take that, Mega Bloks!
After Kevin and I parted ways, I took some photos in the parking lot — in order to have my Amish man magnifigure stake his claim. . .
I may be in my 30s, tattooed, and tall — but as far as I’m concerned, I’m still a kid.
-Baron von Brunk