Lego: habla su mente maestra

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Lego está más hip que nunca en arte, moda, diseño y más. Mike Ganderton, senior creative director de la marca, explica toda la magia

Primero, tu historia con Lego.
Lego fue una parte enorme de mi infancia. De muy chiquito tenía una caja grande, llena de ladrillos básicos y rueditas, y más que nada construía autos y casas. Después salió Lego Space, y me compraron los sets más chicos, con minifiguras y todo y mejores ruedas. Así empecé a armar cosas más refinadas. Mi mejor amigo también tenía un montón de ladrillos Lego, el primer tren y hacía rieles gigantes con un montón de puentes. También, le compraron el primer auto Technic. Con eso hicimos unos lanzamisiles muy efectivos en base a Legos y banditas elásticas. ¡Muy sofisticado! Toda esta creatividad y resolver problemas me llevó a estudiar diseño industrial. Me parecía alucinante combinar habilidad analítica con un elemento creativo, así que estudié en la Northumbria University, noreste de Inglaterra. Y finalmente me uní a Lego como Design Manager en 2001, en las oficinas en Billund, Dinamarca. Ahora, como Senior Creative Director, estoy a cargo de las líneas de Racers, Technic y Bionicle, y el leadership team, con 23 diseñadores para asegurarnos que el nivel de innovación y la calidad de juego crezcan. La mitad de mi tiempo son los juguetes, ¡y el resto es pensar en negocios! Riesgos y oportunidades, cosas así.
En los últimos años, Lego creció más allá de su naturaleza como juguete, hacia la esfera del arte y el diseño. Nathan Sawaya, Dee & Ricky, Jean Charles de Castelbajac. La lista es excelente.
Creo que los ladrillos Lego siempre fueron un producto que facilitó la creatividad de los individuos. Lo reconocen artistas, diseñadores y arquitectos. Es timeless, se ajusta a las tendencias y las tecnologías. También, lo usan muchísimo en animaciones en stop-motion, Youtube está lleno. Y también, la expresión como pixelada que dan los ladrillos llevan a creaciones físicas que emulan lo que está en el espacio virtual. Como diseñador de Lego, lo siento como una recompensa, y nos fuerza a ver nuestros productos desde nuevas perspectivas.
También, explotó en la escena de videogames. Digital Designer, con su interfaz 2.0 online, Lego Universe, Rock Band, etcetera. ¿Hay una estrategia conciente al respecto?
La marca Lego es más que los bloques. Se trata de lo que llamamos “creatividad sistemática”, donde la creatividad funciona porque hay reglas básicas y lógicas y todo encaja con el resto. Este principio rige tanto en el mundo virtual como en el físico, y sí, hubo una estrategia conciente hacia la virtualidad, pero de forma Lego.
¿Un día en la oficina del team de diseño en Billund? ¿Cómo es?
¡No hay un día típico! Depende de dónde estemos en el proceso de desarrollo. En la fase inicial es muy de concepto: identificar temas que nos emocionen, dibujar modelos y personajes, pensar funcionalidades prototípicas usando materiales existentes. Después, es todo ejecución: detallar un solo elemento, crear los manuales de instrucciones, o el diseño de la caja y el packaging. Ahora mismo estoy en un focus group con unos chicos de Polonia. Les estamos mostrando unos prototípos de unas figuras para 2011 y visuales del mundo en que viven. Usamos su feedback para la dirección final e identificar qué personajes y funciones van a estar presentes en el paquete final. De todas formas, tenemos objetivos de negocios y trabajamos dentro del marco de Lego, así que no tenemos libertad irrestricta, ¡pero usualmente es divertido! Siempre hay un gran espíritu. Queremos pintarle una sonrisa a la gente.
¿Cuánta ciencia hay detrás de un diseño Lego?
¡Mucha! Invertimos mucha energía en el CAD y análisis mould-flow para asegurarnos que los ladrillos encajen bien, y al mismo tiempo se suelten cuando los necesitás. El término es “clutch power”, y es un factor muy importante. En términos de nuevos diseños nos apoyamos en la creatividad de nuestros diseñadores. Trabajamos con una herramienta que se llama Lego Innovation Model, que nos obliga a considerar la novedad de forma holística, tanto en comunicación como manufactura.
Los playsets de Frank Lloyd Wright fueron una sorpresa, una muestra de que Lego puede ser verdaderamente miniarquitectura y cosa seria también.
La idea fue el resultado de una co-lab entre nuestro New Business Group y el arquitecto Adam Reed Tucker, y es un buen ejemplo de cómo innovar con Lego. El concepto va a una audiencia muy diferente, los arquitectos mismos, y turistas también. Se vende más en gift shops que en jugueterías. Es de ladrillos standard, y está presentado de forma muy exclusiva. En esencia, es una experiencia muy Lego, pero a la vez inesperada.
Ahora, tu playset preferido.
¡Esa es difícil! El set que cambió todo para mí fue el del buggy especial con el miniastronauta. Esa figura y las ruedas me fanatizaron. El que siempre quise y nunca tuve fue el tren Duplo, me hubiese encantado hacer grandes rieles. Finalmente, el equipo Technic está desarrollando un modelo fascinante para 2010. Se ve sorprendente, usa Power Functions con electricidad en una forma muy inteligente, va a ser divertido construírlo. Ojalá pudiera decirte más, ¡pero es info clasificada!
¿Y la clave del éxito?
Creo que la atemporalidad de Lego es lo crucial. No importa lo que hagas, se va a ver contemporáneo. La idea central de Lego nunca cambia, pero la expresión siempre es nueva.

legomike

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