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A Portrait of Play: The LEGO Group Celebrates 90 Year Anniversary with Fan Photoshoot

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Photographer Rankin brings together a line up of LEGO fans from across the UK, aged from 1 – 90 years, including former English footballer Peter Crouch and British model Ellie Goldstein

A Portrait of Play: The LEGO Group Celebrates 90 Year Anniversary with Fan Photoshoot

To celebrate 90 years of play, the LEGO Group and Rankin have teamed up to create special portraits of 90 LEGO fans aged one – 90 years, to showcase the ageless nature of LEGO play. Hundreds of fans shared their stories of what LEGO play means to them to be with a chance of being photographed by Rankin, best known for his iconic celebrity portraits including the Spice Girls, David Bowie and The Queen. The portraits can be viewed here and will also be displayed in Manchester, Glasgow and various London locations.  

The line-up includes LEGO lovers from around the country, from eight-year-old Boaz and his Grandpa Paul, who says LEGO play has come a long way since he was little, to 11 year old Elijah who enjoys creating fantasy worlds and 45 year old Kev Gascoigne, of Fairy Bricks which donates LEGO sets to children’s hospices and hospitals. They feature alongside LEGO designers including Matthew Ashton and Amy Corbett, plus familiar faces including Model Ellie Goldstein; Glow Up Judge Dominic Skinner and former England footballer and BBC podcast host Peter Crouch. 

Former England footballer and dad of four, Peter Crouch, says “LEGO play has always been in my life. From a young age I’d build football stadiums - little goals, bricks to make the lines around the edge of the pitch and mini-figures as players for the match.

Now, as a dad of four, LEGO building is firmly back in my life and everywhere in our house. My kids love to build – it’s something they’ve all been into at one point or another. LEGO Ninjago is very popular in our house, some of the things the kids build are so intricate, it really amazes me how it captures their attention. I try to get involved but they normally send me away - I’m definitely better with my feet than my hands!”

Vicky Ryan, who features in the line up alongside her son Kaelen, adds, “LEGO play is at the heart of my relationship with my son Kaelen. I loved LEGO sets as a child and passed that love onto him from an early age. We have developed an amazing LEGO town in his bedroom where we have created fantastic scenes of chaos and mayhem and while away the hours chatting whilst we build” 

Photographer Rankin said, “I’ve captured some playful photography in my time, but this campaign has been a truly special one to be involved in. There aren’t many brands who have stood the test of 90 years, have fans across all ages and which still manages to excite and inspire people across the world to be creative every day.”

The 1-90 portraits can been seen on outdoor media in cities around the UK and at lego.com for the next two weeks. They form just one element of a whole summer of celebration for 90 years of LEGO play with other highlights including: 

  • Celebrating the role of play in the lives of world-renowned creatives such as Alicia Keys, Yotam Ottolenghi and Peggy Gou
  • Bringing LEGO fans and families together for an exciting look behind-the-scenes of LEGO HQ with LEGO CON
  • Recreating iconic LEGO models with the LEGO Classic 90 Years of Play, and two new sets that reimagine original classic themes: the LEGO Lion Knights’ Castle and  the LEGO Galaxy Explorer, which were revealed through a touching reunion of LEGO families.
  • A ‘What Brick Are You?’ quiz available on LEGO.com, LEGO social media channels and LEGO Life
  • The (re)opening of the world’s biggest LEGO store in Leicester Square on The LEGO Group’s 90th birthday itself, 10th August

90 years of play

Ninety years ago, a Danish carpenter crafted a line of small wooden toys in his Billund, Denmark, workshop. His first collection had a modest 36 items that included cars, airplanes, and yoyos, all carefully crafted to help local children learn about the world.

Twenty-six years after Ole made his first wooden toy, his son Godtfred patented the LEGO brick we know today, with its interlocking tube system offering endless creative building possibilities.

Since then, the LEGO brick has become both one of the World’s biggest brands and most popular toys, even being named ‘Toy of the Century’ in 1999. The humble brick has formed the basis of over 18,000 LEGO products, received the Hollywood treatment in THE LEGO MOVIE™, helped children learn about robotics and coding through LEGO MINDSTORMS, and inspired hours of playful digital adventures in over 180 LEGO video games. 

The name derives from the Danish ‘Leg Godt’ meaning ‘play well’ – and the LEGO Group’s mission is to ‘inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow’. New research from the LEGO Play Well Study shows play as not only fun, but also integral to childhood development, overall happiness and family wellbeing.

LEGO play continues to grow in popularity, with famous fans, including David Beckham, Ed Sheeran and Joe Jonas & Sophie Turner, helping reach new audiences year on year. 

Family values have always been at the heart of the LEGO Group, which is still headquartered in Billund, Denmark, where Ole started making his first toys. To this day, it is still owned by Ole’s family with grandson Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen recently passing the helm to his own son, Thomas Kirk Kristiansen.

Thomas Kirk Kristiansen, chairman of the LEGO Group said, “when my great-grandfather founded the company 90 years ago, he recognised that play could change the lives of children – it brings families together and helps children develop skills that can enable them to reach their full potential. He only had a small workshop, but he had big ambitions to ensure as many children as possible could experience the benefits that play brings. Whether 1932, 2022 or on our 100th Anniversary in 2032, we strive to continue this legacy by helping all families, wherever they are in the world, to play well.”

Innovative play for all

Keeping the LEGO brick remains at the heart of everything The LEGO Group does, 2022 marks a year of driving further innovation through play.

Most recently, The LEGO Group announced the launch of LEGO City Missions, a new digital storytelling experience that puts children in charge of creating their own builds, using imagination and creativity to solve exciting missions. Launched with three new sets based on animal rescue, space exploration and police detective mysteries, children are given inspiration for core model builds, which they can then build and rebuild again and again.

In April, The LEGO Group and Epic Games announced that they are entering a long-term partnership to shape the future of the metaverse to make it fun and safe for children and families. Together they aim to build an immersive, creatively inspiring and engaging digital experience for kids of all ages to enjoy together and empower them to become confident creators in a safe and positive space.

In a year that sees women’s sport in the spotlight, The LEGO Group is a national sponsor of the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 which is currently taking place, as part of its commitment to champion inclusive play and ensure children’s creative ambitions aren’t limited by gender stereotypes

Follow the hashtag #LEGO90years or visit here to join in the fun.

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Categories: Sports and Leisure, Toys

RANKIN, Mon, 18 Jul 2022 10:23:01 GMT