Boosting creativity with play at The LEGO® Piece Garden

By Sujata Burman

“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation”

“With six two-by-four, standard-sized LEGO® bricks, you can combine them in over 915 million ways,” says Will Knight, creative lead at media brand It's Nice That. It’s this level of creative possibility that made Danish icon The LEGO® Group the perfect partner for their LDF23 project, ‘The LEGO® Piece Garden.’ 

“It’s a nice metaphor for the different directions that creativity and design can take you,” Knight says of the fact, uncovered during the creative team's research for an installation that will invite visitors to experiment and play during the festival.

A collaboration with the LEGO Group is a natural fit for It’s Nice That. “We have someone in our team – working at the creative agency side of the business, Anyways – who did his dissertation on LEGO,” says Knight. The connection between building with LEGO bricks and creativity, he continues, was a source of inspiration. The team at It’s Nice That wanted the experience to balance “the feeling of playing and escaping, but also finding calm and a sense of tranquillity you get when you're really focused on an activity”.

While The LEGO Group is a huge part of everyone's childhood, this exhibition invites professionals and creatives to engage with some of the brand’s super-intricate adult sets, including the Art and Botanical ranges: the former allowing one to create striking LEGO builds takes on timeless imagery; the latter a collection of brick-built blossoms. All encourage a sense of joyful focus; seeking, explains Knight, to create a moment of quiet and peace to “work on something with your hands” as a means of boosting creativity.

“LDF is huge for us. It's always been a big moment in the calendar,” he continues, in reference to the project’s inauguration. In the bustle of the city, It’s Nice That also understood the need for periodic respite and thus landed on the ‘garden’ of the title as a setting.

“We wanted,” says Knight, “to create a beautiful garden or plant shop”; to transport the user away from London’s business persona, and connect one’s creative instincts with a more serene natural world. 

At the heart of the project is the concept of play – something adults seldom engage with when they’ve been staring at a computer all day. “Maybe,” says Knight, hopefully, “someone will leave with an idea for a project.” 

The space will also host workshops and artist’s residencies to encourage this – inviting everyone to unlock their creative senses. Knight presents a Plato quote as a philosophical touchstone for the team’s research: “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” What, the project looks to suggest, will we find out of one another? You’ll just have to take a trip to ‘The LEGO Piece Garden’ and see.