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Lego Letterpress And Other New Takes On A Classic Toy

by Mito Habe-Evans
Dec 27, 2010

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Back in my day, when I wasn't walking ten miles to school in bare feet, a popular pastime for me and my compatriots was to play with Lego blocks. What we created was entirely dependent on our imaginations, and Legos were the tools. Our creations were unique, imagined sculptures — although these days, Lego makes a bajillion kits with specialized parts and blueprints for very specific constructions.

Still, some creative people have reclaimed the toy's initial spirit of enterprise by re-purposing the blocks in ways Lego probably never expected.

Like graphic designers Sam Cox and Justin LaRosa. They've teamed up as Physical Fiction to bring Lego to the letterpress. They use smooth tiles as pixels in their video-game-like designs, snapping them on a flat Lego base mounted to wood. Paint is applied with a roller, and the whole thing is pressed to paper, leaving their inked impression.

"Some our work is definitely inspired by the characters, imagery, stories, and even sounds of old video games," writes Cox in an e-mail. "I think working with pixels is always going to take people back to their old video games just because the pixel is such a crucial visual element in them."

And that's not the only new take on Legos. Remember our pumpkin camera? Well one creative photographer has made a medium format pinhole camera using Legos, and it works!

Legos have starred in a few charming videos lately, too. Like this advertisement, in which the filmmaker uses actual pieces from his own childhood stash:

And then there are music videos - the viral Rymdreglage one, and Michel Gondry's White Stripes video . Last but not least are the Lego recreations of iconic photographs.

In short: The blueprints for Lego construction may be more advanced these days, but people are still thinking outside of the box. What other ways have you seen the classic toy re-purposed?

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