Building Bangladesh's parliament in lego
The world-famous Danish brand LEGO is synonymous with plastic-brick toys. The iconic, colourful plastic children's blocks, which snap together to create anything from houses and castles, to space ships have long become part of pop culture. But LEGO isn’t just for kids anymore. There is a small but thriving adult community, which enjoys building more complex sets – like the Millennium Falcon (7,500 pieces) or the Taj Mahal (5,900 pieces). And several of these "AFOLs'' (Adult Fans Of LEGO) build their own creations.
One AFOL in Bangladesh has taken LEGO building to the next level. Juditha Ohlmacher, of J&J LEGO Creations, has made it her mission to recreate Bangladesh's well-known monuments in LEGO – and is on a one-woman campaign to get the LEGO Company to accept her designs as official sets.
"LEGO's Architecture line has tabletop-sized sets of the world's great monuments, like the Eiffel Tower or the Sydney Opera House," Juditha explained. "But one day I had a brainwave: Bangladesh has one of the greatest masterpieces of modernist architecture in the world, but most people don't know about it. Why not suggest to LEGO to make our parliament building into a set?"
The national assembly building, built over two decades by the architect Louis Kahn, is one of Bangladesh's most well-known landmarks.
"Bangladeshis feel very deeply about this building. When I visited, I noticed that every person there felt pride and ownership of it," Juditha continued, "It is more than a parliament; it is a symbol of stability, dignity, and greatness."
Juditha soon learned that in order to suggest the idea to LEGO, she had to submit a fully-designed version, and then gather 10,000 supporters on the LEGO Ideas website. It took over a year of research and trial and error until she was ready to submit last August. To build a full version, she had to hunt for the right pieces, which she gradually put together, eventually succeeding in capturing Kahn’s iconic landmark.
Since then, she has been taking her project to various shows, festivals, and universities to gather the required votes.
But in order to catch people's attention, she decided to go much bigger. She created a large-sized version, consisting of a whopping 8,000 LEGO bricks. "The large-scale version is very eye-catching; people see it and go, 'Wow!' and then they want to learn more about the campaign."
Why, -- in her own words -- as a “bideshi” has Juditha decided to take on this campaign? "I have lived in Bangladesh for the past 15 years. I love the country and I'm tired of only seeing negative news about it. So, this is about nation-branding; about projecting something positive about Bangladesh to the rest of the world."
What's next after this project? "I am working on doing LEGO versions of all of Bangladesh's monuments. The Jatiya Smriti Saudha has been the hardest!"
The voting will close soon, however, and she still needs a final push of voters to make it happen. “I am calling on all Bangladeshis here and abroad to go vote on the LEGO Ideas site. It’s the only way we can cross the finish line.”
How can you support making the parliament building in LEGO?
● Go to: LEGO Ideas at http://www.ideas.lego.com
● Search for "Bangladesh" to find the project.
● Create an account and activate it with the email code.
● Click on Support
● Share with your friends and family!
Direct link to project: https://ideas.lego.com/projects/bf4be568-06c6-4608-83d0-b2d10ea4f3f3