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BBC interview with top LEGOLAND Windsor designer!

 
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Dalek Zombie
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Joined: 02 Jul 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 12:31 pm    Post subject: BBC interview with top LEGOLAND Windsor designer! Reply with quote

Not sure whether anyone has read this before, or if it is in the right section. The interview below is copied and edited from the BBC website.

Guy Bagley has single-handedly designed and built some of the most famous buildings in the world - including a large part of London - down to the very last brick.

But the 37-year-old master builder didn't have to lift a trowel or use a single digger - because his architectural creations are built entirely out of Lego.

Guy is the chief model maker at one of Britain's most popular theme parks, Legoland, and is paid to construct the thousands of sculptures at the park, much to the envy of the attraction's many younger visitors.

But, instead of a future of building out of coloured bricks, when Guy was a little boy he had the rather more common dream of being a train driver.

"I had Lego as a child, but I never thought I would be doing this for a living," he laughs.

Guy heads a 12-strong team which spends its days maintaining as well as designing and building models - from six-piece pigeons to a huge Boeing 747 cockpit made out of 2.2 million bricks.

They start their working day at 7am, before the park opens its gates, when existing models are checked for wear and tear and made safe for visitors. They then spend time coming up with new ideas for attractions, designing them and making them a colourful reality.

LEGO FACTS
Company founded in 1934
More than 400bn bricks made
Voted Britain's top toy in 2008 survey

There are almost 55 million plastic pieces, or "elements", currently in use at the park. All are the "bog standard" bricks that can be bought in 10 colours at any toy shop, Guy explains, so in theory anyone could replicate any of his models.

It was the noted modernist architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe who believed "architecture began when two bricks were put together". Guy Bagley remains truer to that description than just about any real world architect.

He particularly enthuses about the merits of the classic eight-stud brick because, he says, "no matter what you build it is used".

The team is busy because the park is always evolving, with the large Miniland London section regularly updated to reflect current events, such as the addition of mini runners when the capital's marathon is taking place.

"We are adding lots of new things constantly - it is an obsession," confesses Guy, who regularly finds himself on a busman's holiday when building models at home for his young son.

Some of the largest models Guy has worked on, such as the dragons or the replica of US landmark the Empire State Building, can take the builders half a year to complete.

According to Guy, the hardest task with Lego is getting the required level of detail using bricks. But, he says proudly, his team has not yet been defeated by any challenge thrown at them.

"Everything we have been asked to do we have done - down to the Boeing cockpit," he says.

For Guy, the greatest job satisfaction comes when he reveals his creations to the public for the first time.

"When you build a model and bolt it down and see guests admiring it, that's a high," he says. But even dream jobs have a downside, and for Guy, it's not the elements he builds with but the elements most of us avoid by working in a warm office - the weather. The cold and a rain make things less pleasant, he says.

So, what does it take to follow in Guy's footsteps? The right attitude is essential, he believes. LEGO BUILDERS
Salary: General model makers 19,000-30,000+
Numbers: 12 UK Legoland builders
Breaking in: Take courses in art and design, keep a portfolio of work
Source: Legoland/Careers Advice

"Being a child at heart. You have a lot of fun in the job. You have to get on with people - it is a very people place. You need a passion for it."

As for skills, a background in art and design can help, he says, and practice is crucial.

"You can train. Like anything experience is important - the ability to turn a two dimensional image into a three-dimensional model."

While others in his team come from work in theatre set design or sign making, Guy started as an industrial model maker. While constructing architectural models, he was commissioned to create one for the then new Legoland. This led to a prized interview and the job itself.
Guy gets the most satisfaction from seeing visitors with his models

"It was very much a case of being in the right place at the right time," he says. As part of the selection process, Guy was given a box of plastic bricks and an hour to build either an animal or a building from scratch. And, he recalls, his resulting parrot succeeded in winning over his future bosses.

But he admits: "I could do better now."

Guy advises would-be professional model builders to keep a portfolio of their work, including the designs and photographs of their best creations. But, most of all, they should "keep the passion going", he says.

However, any of those wanting to jump into Guy's shoes any time soon may face a long wait. After 16-and-a-half years in the job, he declares he will not give it up without a fight.
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ZombieAthos
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Joined: 06 Feb 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 1:47 pm    Post subject: Re: BBC interview with top LEGOLAND Windsor designer! Reply with quote

Dalek Cann wrote:

There are almost 55 million plastic pieces, or "elements", currently in use at the park. All are the "bog standard" bricks that can be bought in 10 colours at any toy shop, Guy explains, so in theory anyone could replicate any of his models.


I think this is the most interesting part of the piece.

Steve
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Gumby



Joined: 07 Feb 2005
Location: Vancouver, BC Canada Age: 29

PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 6:56 pm    Post subject: Re: BBC interview with top LEGOLAND Windsor designer! Reply with quote

Athos wrote:
Dalek Cann wrote:

There are almost 55 million plastic pieces, or "elements", currently in use at the park. All are the "bog standard" bricks that can be bought in 10 colours at any toy shop, Guy explains, so in theory anyone could replicate any of his models.


I think this is the most interesting part of the piece.

Steve

They key phrase in that quote is "in theory". Smile
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Dalek Zombie
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Although I myself believe they use more than ten colours.

Blue, dark blue, light blue, orange, yellow, tan, red, dark red, white, black, grey, dark grey...

Why is he lying?
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Gumby



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2008 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You didn't even include green yet! Razz
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ZombieAthos
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2008 1:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dalek Cann wrote:

Why is he lying?


He isn't. He just said they use bricks that can be bought in 10 colors at toy shops. He didn't say they only used those 10 colors. Though his theory would seem to indicate such...

Steve
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bluemoose
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2008 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They usually work with a limited number of colours; they'll order in from LEGO if they need specific colours for a specific job. They do, however, have access to particular colour/piece combinations that haven't been released in sets.

Ian
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