Cultivating creativity: The LEGO® Piece Garden invites us to rediscover the joys of play
As part of London Design Festival, It’s Nice That partnered with The LEGO Group to create an installation inviting people to unwind and find a moment of joyful focus.
If you were ambling down Shoreditch High Street in the middle of the rather drizzly September just gone, you might well have found yourself suddenly surrounded by greenery, in a moss-covered garden covered in blooms. The LEGO® Piece Garden has now closed its doors, but for nine days the installation offered passers-by in one of London’s busiest districts a restorative space for play and creativity.
Inside the installation, which was designed in partnership with It’s Nice That as part of the London Design Festival (LDF) programme, visitors found the LEGO Botanical Collection – a range of the world-famous building bricks that can be used to create stunning arrangements. The collection is part of a wider initiative by The LEGO Group to inspire adult creativity, encouraging people to sit down, take a moment for themselves and engage in a playful and meditative activity, as we all did so often and so easily in childhood.
“The LEGO® Botanical Collection gives adults immersive building experiences that let their creativity bloom, as well as providing a building opportunity for plant lovers to create masterpieces they can proudly display in their home when finished,” says Zach Leung, Brand Marketing Manager at The LEGO Group. This collection is part of the LEGO Adults Welcome range, which includes all the sets designed to help people uncover their creativity and find a moment of tranquility, “whether you’re an adult re-awakening your childhood passion or just discovering the fun of creating and building from scratch for the first time,” says Zach.
The LEGO Piece Garden was split across two areas: the Joyful Focus area, where visitors could work in solitude, or with a friend, to create their beautiful blossoms; and a series of workshops, which were run by local artists-in-residence and offered extra guidance, deeper inspiration and a communal atmosphere. Participants in both were given cards with flowers on them to guide their creation, with the workshop participants then making a further artwork inspired by the flower itself. Afterwards, these finished flowers could be added to a community garden made up of stunning walls of natural living moss.
“The LEGO® Botanical Collection gives adults immersive building experiences that let their creativity bloom.”Zach Leung, Brand Marketing Manager at The LEGO Group
Visitors who photographed their creations and shared them on social media were then in with a chance of winning one of two original artworks, created by local artists-in-residence Charlotte Mei and Alec Doherty using LEGO Floral Art sets. The artists both worked in the space throughout the duration of the installation and both share a bold, bright and often-playful style, making them the perfect people to work in this medium.
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“When we are feeling playful, we create in a more uninhibited way.”Charlotte Mei
As leaders for the workshops, they also brought their creative sensibilities to the communal table, helping participants to think outside the box. The first workshop was run by Alec, who says it was an “opportunity to make something from your imagination and to be a kid again for a moment”. He goes on: “Most of us don’t do enough of it in our everyday lives, and it’s always a privilege to be around and watch that happening.”
The second workshop was run by Charlotte, who believes that creativity and play are inextricably linked. “When we are feeling playful, we create in a more uninhibited way, and I find that when I allow myself to explore and make mistakes, I create some of my most exciting pieces,” she says. “The inspiration behind the pieces I created for The LEGO® Piece Garden were the natural world and the beautiful colour combinations that come out of it.”
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“[The workshops] were an opportunity to make something from your imagination and to be a kid again for a moment.”Alec Doherty
Along with exploring the LEGO® Botanical Collection, visitors could also discover the rest of the LEGO Adults Welcome range, including the LEGO Modern Art and Floral Art sets – artworks from which adorned a separate gallery room inside the installation space. This range encourages adults to unlock their creativity, and to rest, relax and focus their mind on simple, playful tasks.
With this extensive range, LEGO® is turning its attention to an older demographic and transcending the idea that its product is only for children. On top of this, the brand has also produced audio releases, including a new album titled LEGO® White Noise, which offers people over three hours of soothing background sound to accompany their building sessions. Meanwhile, a freshly released playlist on Spotify titled Rhythm & Bricks connects users with popular artists such as Tom Misch, who have worked with the brand to create special tracks inspired by, and designed for, LEGO. Happy (and peaceful) listening!
About the Author
Daniel joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in February 2019 and continues to work with us on a freelance basis. He graduated from Kingston University with a degree in Journalism in 2015. He is also co-founder and editor of SWIM, an annual art and photography publication.