Mr Jeffrey Kong is a very busy construction worker. He has built everything, from shophouses in Chinatown to office towers in the Central Business District and retro dragon playgrounds in Toa Payoh. However, it has all been done out of Legos.
Lego is not just toys for children, for a small group of people in Singapore, the little plastic bricks have become serious business.
They are called “Brick artists” here and have spent hours recreating local landmarks in Lego form and their creations are getting more attention.
Companies are increasingly commissioning Lego sculptures or looking to create custom Lego playsets.
Meanwhile, some are also trying to get Singaporean designs to become part of the Danish’s toymaker’s line-up to be sold worldwide.
Became a Lego fan very late
Mr Kong said that his brick business started out as a hobby.
“I started getting into Lego five years ago, when my father was really sick,” the 38-year-old told The Straits Times. At the time, he was working in the publishing industry.
“It brought me so much joy in some of my lowest days.”
He said the wonder of working with the bricks is that each is a little miracle of precision engineering – perfect and uniform.
He began working on sculptures commercially when more and more people asked him about his projects and reached out to commission pieces. These can range from large-scale display pieces for corporations to personalised mementos for private clients – he even designs and packages building sets for companies and organisations.
From sketching and conception to sourcing pieces and devising unique ways of using certain pieces, each sculpture may well take upwards of two weeks.
Some clients Mr Kong has worked with include business consultancy giant Deloitte and government bodies such as the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
He even has a sculpture on tour with the Piece of Peace World Heritage Exhibit, organised by Unesco.
The featured piece is a Singaporean architectural icon – the Botanic Gardens bandstand.
Second round Lego fan
Another Lego enthusiast, Italian Davide Sacramati, 32, who has lived in Singapore for the past three years, said that he was very inspired by the Piece of Peace exhibition, and that drove him to pick up his Lego bricks again.
The children’s football coach said that over the past three years, Singapore has truly become home to him.
He is trying to get Lego to put out a local icon – bumboats on the Singapore River. He has submitted his riverboat design to Lego as part of its Ideas project, where submissions which garner 10,000 votes can be produced as official Lego sets to be sold.
Mr Sacramati said that every year, Lego launches only four or five such sets and he has never seen a Singaporean one.
“It would be so nice for Singapore to have a set that is so iconic to it.
“If the design wins, the set will be launched worldwide. It is an opportunity to show off Singapore’s heritage,” he said.