When thinking about colour as a child, the first thing that pops into my mind is the hours of endless fun we all used to have playing with LEGO. It is hard to believe that LEGO toys have been made for well more than half a century; the first block being produced in 1949, with all parts universally compatible with one another since 1958 irregardless of size and colour!
From bright reds to deep blues; LEGO blocks come in all shapes and sizes. Their product range includes anything from hospitals to police stations, film sets to imaginary lands – the possibilities are endless. More recently, LEGO have entered the video game industry – with a series of bright and vivid console games, not to mention their recent storm into Hollywood with the release of their first animation film; The LEGO Movie.
For several decades now, children have scattered these colourful plastic blocks across living rooms worldwide and have let their inner creativity go wild! LEGO has survived countless waves of competitors and threats; quite possibly the largest being the rise of the internet and console games. However, LEGO stood tall, it evolved and adapted and still delivers the hours of endless fun we once had as children ( or in some cases, still have).
Then, as if out of nowhere, popped up this feature from Alicia Canter of The Guardian who was lucky enough to get the opportunity to tour the LEGO factory in Denmark last August. The photos are a world of colour inspiration…
The Factory Tour
At the heart of the entrance to LEGO HQ rests a giant yellow LEGO brick. It is all fun and creativity beyond here!
This machine is how the plastic is coloured before being moulded into LEGO bricks. Above is orange die for this batch.
Bricks are built in colour batches. Above are a series of yellow bricks running on a conveyor belt.
Surrounding this green brick is the debris from producing similar bricks. The bricks are moulded together then detached from the debris after being formed.
Thousands of bricks like these are made everyday! Here a pink batch is finishing its sprint on the production line.
However, not all pieces make the cut, and for some it’s off to the chopping block, irregardless of their bright and vivid colours
The factory is long. Very long… Infact it is 1 km long and is home to not only LEGO toys, but the LEGO video games and LEGO movie too!
At a distance, the large blue block numbered 24 may look like a workstation. In actual fact its the LEGO robot which is programmed to visit all production lines and collect finished batches of LEGO blocks
This is just one batch of clear pieces waiting to be collected at the end of production, all ready for packaging.
It’s hard to believe what a vigorous testing process these miniature pieces go through.
Absolute precision accuracy is key to the production of these bricks, with machines having a tolerance of 2 micrometres meaning different bricks will always interlock.
These spikes help position the plastic whilst being moulded to bloacks in the production machines.
Even the computers at LEGO HQ get a bit of colour treatment!
The Chromologist is a colour whisperer. He understands and knows them better than they know themselves, translating their pleas to be used beautifully for humankind. It's unknown from whence he came. Some say the fraction of space between a prism and a spectrum, others say he toiled in the fabled colour mines of Svalbard for years untold, deep underground, speaking only to the reds and blues, cerises and aquas, bronze and golds...