Turning playtime into a business model, these M’sians build huge “Lego” sculptures around KL
Legos. They’ve stood the test of time and remain a cult-favourite toy for kids and adults through the many builds one can create using the millions of bricks produced by the company.
You can build based on the instructions provided in the box—which, dare I say, is the prerequisite for building IKEA furniture later—or let your creativity run wild.
Having watched several documentaries about Legoland and the behind-the-scenes of working for the company, I’ve dreamt of being a Lego artist. Though, this was never a dream I took seriously.
Unlike me, it seems that the team behind Bryks Art did. These Malaysians build massive brick sculptures to display in locations such as IOI City Mall, and even get the public involved in their creative projects.
Behind the build
Like most brick hobbyists, the team behind Bryks Art have boxes and boxes of bricks.
“If we love the toys, we keep them on display. Once we get bored of the toys we have built, we take them apart and try building new ideas,” shared the team, who told Vulcan Post that they’d prefer to remain anonymous.
The inspiration to found Bryks Art in 2018 actually came from their children.
Millennials and Gen Zs are digital natives who spend too much time on their devices, the Gen X’ers realised.
Bryks Art was founded on the pursuit to reintroduce other forms of play, such as bricks, to their kids. On a larger scale, Bryks Art’s aim is to inspire the public to challenge their creativity through the brick sculptures.
Life-sized Pokemon, cars, and more
During our visit to IOI City Mall’s Phase 2 launch, we stumbled upon exhibitions of Pokemon Lego sculptures. Kids and parents were also gathered around small tables, seemingly building something with the bricks.
That was just the beginning of our discovery of Bryks Art.
Heading down to the Ground Floor, we were awed by a life-sized Myvi sculpture built from these bricks, complete with headlights that lit up and front doors that could be opened.
The team calls the car sculptures MyBi, and there were several smaller Myvi riff-offs in the same space. They included a MyBi tractor, MyBi monster truck, and one that looked like it converted into Transformers’ Bumblebee.
Those kids playing with bricks at the interactive tables earlier? We later found out that they were actually a part of something bigger; it’s what the team imagines to be the largest brick mural in Malaysia in commemoration of Merdeka and Malaysia Day.
“The beauty is that we didn’t complete this on our own, 95% of it was put together by Malaysians as well as some visitors from abroad,” shared the team. “Malaysians had a hand in the creation of the largest brick mural, that is what makes our art special.”
No labels, no rules
Speaking to the team who were on-site, we discovered that the bricks used for the sculptures weren’t original Lego bricks. Instead, they’re outsourced from a trusted third-party supplier.
Thus, you won’t find the “Lego” imprints on the bricks if you take a closer look.
“Lego is a brand, the most famous brand of bricks, and there are rules to how you can use Legos,” the team explained their reason for not using the originals. “For us to build the unimaginable, we cannot be tied down by rules, hence the use of non-Lego bricks.”
It can be said that it’s also more cost-effective for the team to use off-brand pieces for their sculptures.
Interestingly, Bryks Art does not sell these bricks under their brand. When asked about monetisation, the team explained that it’s mainly based on commissions from clients.
“We have introduced ourselves to the world by exhibiting our brick sculptures to the public and building a fan base,” they shared.
“Fortunately for us, not only has the public taken notice of our capabilities, but so have corporate institutions, many of whom have asked if they could commission us to build for them.”
A dedicated 50-man team
Bryks Art’s team consists of 50 full-time professionals who are tasked with designing, engineering, and building brick sculptures.
When it comes to bringing an idea to life, Bryks Art shared that the team gets together to brainstorm their ideas on a weekly basis.
They then shortlist the ideas, select what to build, and commence with their build process.
This is where designers will put an idea into a drawing, engineers will ensure the structural integrity of the builds, and builders piece the sculpture together.
The last part of the project where bricks are put together brick by brick can take up to one week to two months, and the latter was the case for the life-sized Myvi structure.
Constructing a gallery
It’s been almost five years since Bryks Art was launched. So far, the team has shared that not much has changed about the company’s operations.
The ultimate goal of Bryks Art’s team is to build their very own Bryks Art Gallery that will most likely be located in Klang Valley by 2023.
They imagine their space to have a Bryks Library where members who subscribe will have access to an endless supply of brick elements to build whatever they want.
“We want to build a community of builders, regardless of age, experience and skill level,” said the team about their goal. “Ultimately, we would include amazing builds in the Gallery to showcase our community.”
For members that don’t want their builds displayed in the Gallery, they can choose to store them in their personal lockers which are provided in the space, or dismantle their builds.
Looking at Bryks Art’s business model, it appears that the intention of building up this business is to foster existing and new communities of Lego lovers.
Though selling the off-brand bricks could be an added revenue stream for the business, it is evident that the founders have their eyes set on the art of bricks as a whole, substantiated by the Gallery they’re setting up.
Since they also claim to have found corporations that are willing to pay for their work, what Bryks Art is doing in Malaysia seems valid.
- Learn more about Bryks Art here.
- Read about other Malaysian startups here.
Featured Image Credit: Bryks Art
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