A climb up the spiral staircase at the center of the building deposits visitors at the Masterpiece Gallery of Lego creations, where the possibilities of the brick are highlighted in sculptures — including three, 10-foot-tall dinosaurs. Visitors then make their way into one of the zones designed to stimulate creativity, communication, emotion and cognition.
Employees stationed in each zone offer suggestions and help small hands find the perfect piece for their creations among some 25 million bricks. In the Blue Zone’s Race Track activity, a niece and her engineering-minded stepdad grazed through a trough of Legos in search of an aerodynamic addition to their cars, then raced them against the family and other builders. In the Robo Lab, they practiced programming skills to navigate robots across an Arctic terrain. The Duplo Train Builder playscape encourages toddlers to become conductors using interlocking tracks and moving trains.
In the Green Zone we whiled away an hour sifting through bricky body parts to piece together minifigures, then moved on to the Story Lab, where we use preconstructed props and stop-motion cameras to film our own Lego movie.
The Yellow Zone takes visitors to a Lego jungle, a field of flowers, and under the sea. Highlights include a Fish Designer activity with digital aquariums — wall-sized screens — populated by Lego fish. Visitors can piece together a fish and have it scanned and digitized at an iPad station — and then see it come to life as it swims on the screen. iPad scanners at activities are linked to visitors’ wristbands, so each creation can be stored and revisited from home through the Lego House app.
Tickets to the experience zones (199 kroner per person, about $31) grant entry at specific time blocks, though once inside the house, visitors can stay as long as they like.
But even without a ticket, visitors to Billund can still visit the Lego House, its terraces, Lego Store and three restaurants. The building’s nine rooftop playgrounds, ground-level atrium and surrounding parks are free and open to the public, and designed around the idea of Lego House as an indoor town square for the people of Billund and visitors alike, the architect Bjarke Ingels said.
In addition to the experience zones and public playgrounds, the house also includes Mini Chef, the world’s first Lego restaurant. Orders are taken and food is “prepared” by Lego minifigure chefs “living” in iPad boxes at each table, our hostess explained. The chefs, she said, speak only in brick: to get it right, we must first build our meals in Lego form.
Upon seating, each diner is given a packet of red, green, blue and black bricks, which correspond to items on the menu. To order, we picked one of each color block, snapped our meals together, then slotted them into a special tray attached to the iPad. The orders were then scanned and “read” by the minifigure chefs.
A Lego animation entertained us as we waited, and the illusion was thrilling: the minifigures sorted and prepared the food, traipsing along conveyor belts and shifting bricks as they made our meals. As a bonus and stopgap against the longer-than-expected interval between brick to plate — despite its cafeteria-like simplicity, this is not fast food — everyone at the table had 21 blocks to play with in the meantime, and take home as a souvenir.
Our meals (169 kroner for adult, 98 kroner for children) eventually arrived via conveyor belt from a hidden kitchen in giant blue Lego bento-style boxes. There are no traditional waiters — meals are picked up at a counter staffed by two animatronic Lego robots — though human “helpers” stationed throughout the restaurant serve alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks and answer questions.
The food is surprisingly upscale and relatively health-conscious: adult-friendly ingredients like glazed beetroots and marinated kohlrabi, alongside crispy fries or fried organic chicken for the kids, who each received a minifigure chef toy with their meal.
Two other restaurants are on site: The Brickaccino cafe, featuring coffee, light bites and smoothies, and Le Gourmet, an upscale eatery open for lunch and dinner that serves Lego-inspired multicourse meals of New Nordic fare.
“We really try to take the Lego brick into everything we are doing in the house,” the Lego House general manager, Jesper Vilstrup, said.
Even the Lego House shape, seen from above as visitors fly in to the Billund Airport — which is walking distance from the attraction — gives the illusion of being constructed entirely of Lego bricks. Mr. Ingels, the architect, described the house as a scalable mountain.
“Lego is not a toy. Rather, it’s a tool that empowers the child to actually imagine and create their own world, and then to inhabit that world through play,” Mr. Ingels said at the opening. “And I think architecture, when it is at its best, it is the same thing. As architects and as people, we can imagine what kind of a world is it that we want to live in, then we can design and build that world, and then we can actually go and live in it.”
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