JBF 2019 Magazine – Interview – Stuart Harris

Visiting last year

by the KLUG interview team

Stuart Harris was one of our guests from the LEGO® Group in 2018. He kindly sat down and answered some questions for us.

Q. What is the title of your position at LEGO® and what does it entail?

I’m a Senior Experienced Designer at the LEGO® House. We have a number of designers on the team and we each have a different specialty area. My area is the LEGO® models in the LEGO® House, so that means whether it’s models built by the LEGO® Group or whether it’s curating or sourcing models from the AFOL community as well. I joined the LEGO® house project in 2013 and since that point we have been designing the models that were exhibited in the Experience Zones, and also the public areas and more recently we’ve started looking for AFOL work to go into the House. So every year the plan is that we update the content with new fan content.

Q. Our own Takamichi Irie’s work was featured in the LEGO® House. Can you take us through the process that was used to select his work?

So we have different areas within the House and we have something called the Masterpiece Gallery where we showcase the work of different fans and right now we have seventeen fans in the gallery but we also have theme showcases within the Experience Zones. So it’s in there that we look for fans that have demonstrated skill in building within those themes. Actually we changed the process this year, now we’ve made it a more open sourced way of finding the content. So we actually ran a competition on Rebrick where we asked people to submit ideas for models for the themed cases.

Q. How long are these models going to stay in the LEGO® House for?

We loan the models for one year and we have linked it to the Skærbæk Weekend when we have a lot of fans coming in with their models and we do the change over around that time. So we start looking for models about six months out but it varies, for different things. For example we have within the Masterpiece Gallery and we have the models in the World Explorer. In the World Explorer right now we have a super yacht. So the plan is we will have a new sea going vessel, which will arrive in the World Explorer each year and that’s quite an ambitious build—it’s quite a big build, so we need to brief that one fairly early. We also have the little mechas that are in front of the Opera House which are probably a slightly faster build so we can brief that a little later. So actually while I’m here I will actually be looking for a designer to do the mecha for the world explorer this year.

Q. Is it possible to have models from the same builder featured more than once?

We obviously don’t want to have too many, but we don’t preclude it. It’s actually also about the work so if there are some great new pieces that we really want to exhibit in the House then we will do that. There is one guy that will be having his work featured again in the Nature Case, Amado Canlas Pinlac’s flowers. He actually submitted his work to Rebrick and we also picked it. Basically we didn’t look at the names we just look at the work first and it goes from there.

Q. What the best part of your job?

That is a really tough question. I think one of the best parts of my job is actually meeting people who also have a passion for the LEGO® brand, because as soon as you start talking to people about where you work, and the job that you do, you see the spark in their eyes for the brand that we both love. That is a really nice feeling, being able to interact with people who have the same passion. We all speak brick!

Q. What other perks are there in your job?

I guess it’s the access to so many bricks. If I need a part it’s just there! It’s pretty amazing. You know they’re all nicely sorted and you know where they all are, so that’s pretty nice as a builder to have access to all those bricks.

Q. Are they all kept in a warehouse-sized room? Do you have to walk quite a ways?

You have to walk many aisles, I can’t remember what it is maybe thirty aisles or something like that of bricks, and it’s like a two meter high shelving system of bricks, with every brick in the current assortment. You also see some of the future bricks coming through that are kept in a separate area so you don’t accidentally take them too early.

Q. Do you have a favorite element?

That’s a tough one because I guess it depends on the build, as to which element it would be, because like getting a 2×12 when you’re trying to do a micro build is probably not going to be very useful. So I don’t think I have a particular favorite. But if I think of one I will let you know.

Q. What’s your favorite LEGO® color?

Well it’s either going to be the lime green or the purple.

Q. Do you still play with LEGO® in your spare time?

Yes, I do. At home I build boxes (sets). I don’t tend to do so many MOCs at home because I’m pretty much doing that all day long, so I like to unwind by building some boxes because it’s a great way to find new elements and also see how other designers have built their models.

You can see more of Stuart Harris and his amazing work in the Netflix documentary, “LEGO® House – Home of the Brick”.