@Brutesinlego – Building In Concrete

One Lego Brick At A Time

Toon Welling and his children Felix and Elsa have a thing about

Brutalist Architecture and love of

Lego bricks in shades of grey.

Recognise the craving for concrete? Then @brutusinlego is for you!

Lego acoustic mirror inspired by Lee Rouse

Brutesinlego interprets Lee Rouse’ concrete acoustic mirror

military accoustic radar on British coast by Lee Rouse

British coastal acoustic mirror, pre radar technology: Photographer Lee Rouse on Instagram @ljrouse

This is totally up our street and when we found @brutusinlego on Instagram, Greyscape had to catch up with lead designer, Dutch dad-creative from Utrect,  Toon and his young collaborators #elsawithdots and #felixiraptor

lego Interpretation of Prague Ventilation Shaft

Brutesinlego Interpretation of Prague Ventilation Shaft photographed by @frantisekzachoval

Ventilation Shaft at Prague's Pražského Povstání Metro Station Photo: (instagram) @Frantisekzachoval, @protectpublicspace

Ventilation Shaft at Prague’s Pražského Povstání Metro Station Photo: Instagram @Frantisekzachoval, @protectpublicspace

Our curiosity was peaked, how did a Product Designer translate his innate design knowledge into simple but oh so smart child-friendly Lego designs, think a sort of ABC of brutalism for kids?

Toon explains

‘I have always been passionate about making things that enable an almost seamless interaction with users, creating a sense of possibility and enhancing their creativity. I enjoy inventing things, whether that means helping families develop meaningful rituals, designing furniture for adults or children, or building electronic musical instruments for people of any age. Playing with Lego with my kids gives me even more pleasure!’

Your dream Lego project?

‘The dream would, of course, be to keep playing with Lego, both with my kids and sometimes without them. I would also love to build bigger brutalist structures (maybe even design an original brutalist architecture Lego set) or perhaps a whole dystopian city. This would take a lot more Lego, space, and time than we have right now though. It would be very cool to publish a Brutes In Lego book someday, of course, but I mainly hope to be able to show more people our homemade Lego constructions’.

brutalist architecture built in lego

Upper Photo Bart van Damme, Studio Van Damme via @brutgroup Lower Vojvode Stepe, Belgrade via @utilitarianarchitecture

Why brutalist architecture?

‘I first fell in love with Brutalism in early 2000 when I was working in a photography store. My colleagues there Roel Backaert and Wouter Stelwagen  (we’ve added the link at the bottom for these two talented photographers) made me look at the built environment in a new way. Opening my eyes to the beauty of concrete and giving me a taste for brutalism, the love started there and is still growing. I guess playing with Lego reminded me of the greatness of these structures.

Do you have a favourite brutalist building?

‘There are so many great ones. But if I have to pick just one it would have the be this “Spomenik”:

Spomenik database Monument to the Revolution in Moslavina photographer Marco Lisa

‘Monument to the Revolution in Moslavina’ on the Spomenik Database Photographer Marco Lisa

Will you ever break out from the grey-shades?

‘We do have and use many multi-coloured Lego bricks in our non-Insta builds, but I imagine @Brutesinlego will largely remain in grayscale, though I can imagine using some coloured accents, at some point’.

‘I’ve always had a tendency to look for the weird or underappreciated, finding beauty and joy in them, whether it’s odd 1970s horror movies, 8-bit music, or now, brutalist architecture. There is something attractive to the rough-and-ready aesthetics of these art forms that moves me in a very primal way, and I hope our grayscale reconstructions move other people in a similar way.’

 

brutalist towerblock made from lego bricks by brutesinlego

Brutalist Architecture in Legobricks by Brutesinlego

Has the De Stijl movement had an impact on your designs?

Living in Utrecht “de Stijl” is present all around, its modernist minimalism is, I think, present in my work, whether it is in furniture design or the Dato DUO

 

Brutesinlego architecture experiment with lego bricks

Greyscale Imagined Apartment Block Inspired By Brutalist Architecture By Brutesinlego

De Stijl Diagonals….yes or no?

Yes if used for construction, no if they are merely there for decoration.

Greyscale Lego Bricks Architecture brutalism brutesinlego

Imagined Tower Block in Greyscale Lego Bricks by Brutesinlego

Can you tell us about your Dato DUO synthesizer for children?

It’s an instrument for making electronic music together. It doesn’t matter what age you are or whether you know how to play any instrument at all, the DUO can be played by anyone! My colleague David and I designed the DUO to play together with our kids, who love synths as much as we do.

Any recommendations for that ‘Odd 1970s horror film’?

One of my absolute favourites would be the first Sleepaway Camp from 1983, a slasher horror in which the cast gets picked off in surprising and interesting ways, and it keeps you on the edge of your seat until the end! If you never seen it and like old horror movies this one is a must!

 

Find Toon and the gang at www.instagram.com/brutesinlego

Toons early inspirers:

http://www.roelbackaert.com/

http://wouterstelwagen.com/

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