There are a lot of people out there doing incredible things with Lego — from the purely aesthetic to exploring the frontiers of its functionality.
Bryce McGlone of Plasmic Bricks doesn't call himself a Lego artist — he just likes mucking about, having fun and not taking anything too seriously. That said, his all-Lego replica of HR Giger's Li II is superb; you can't really appreciate the level of detail until you see them both side-by-side.
Except the strings, everything about this harpsichord is constructed from Lego: keyboard, jacks, jack rack, jack rail, plectra, soundboard, bridge, hitch pins, tuning pins, wrest plank, nut, case, legs, lid, lid stick and music stand. The project took creator Henry Lim two years to complete, comprising some 100,000 Lego pieces and coming in at around 70 kilograms. And it's actually functional. It sounds pretty terrible, if we're being honest, but we're beyond impressed that he managed to get it to work at all.
Lim also made a really cool Stegosaurus that stands taller than himself.
The colourful case at the start of this video is more than it appears: when opened, it reveals a pop-up replica of the Buddhist temple Tōdai-ji. Tōdai-ji is located in Nara, towards the South of Japan, and is known for containing the world's largest bronze statue of the Buddha. This Lego replica, created by Japanese Lego enthusiast Talapz, also contains a little Lego Daibutsu inside.
The CubeStormer isn't made entirely out of Lego. This Rubik's cube-solving robot has a brain made out of a Samsung Galaxy II, and its robotics were made using Mindstorms NXT kits. To solve the cube, the robot takes images of the cube's face with the smartphone's camera, using algorithms to determine where the other colours are and solves the cube in record time (for a human).
Why would you want a BeBionic 3 when you could have a prosthetic made out of Lego? Well, mainly because the Lego one wouldn't be very practical — but it is impressive. It was created by student and tinkerer Max Shepherd, who just wanted to see what he could get a Lego arm to do. The hand and arm moves using air-powered pneumatics made out of Lego, is controlled with a joystick and has multiple points of articulation.
When you have objects that work like little bricks, it's only a matter of time before someone tries to replicate famous buildings. Croatian architecture student and co-founder of Croatian Lego club Kockice, Matija Grguric is a fiend for doing just that. His work spans wonders of the ancient world, including Hatshepsut, Mayan pyramids, Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright.
Castle New Rock is his own invention, comprising some 20,000 Lego bricks and taking around three months to build. It looks impressive enough from the outside, but once you get up close, it reveals some wonderful details. Head over to his Flickr page to see for yourself.
This Lego Batcave also contains around 20,000 pieces. It was built by Lego enthusiasts Carlyle Livingston II and Wayne Hussey for the Emerald City Comicon — and it's a thing of sheer beauty. Visit our gallery here for more pictures and info.
You've probably seen Nathan Sawaya's work around the internet traps. He's an officially-sanctioned Lego artist known mostly for his Lego sculptures of the human body, although he works in various media. His art has been exhibited in galleries all across the US, capturing the world's attention as he captures the nuances of the human condition in small, plastic, brightly-coloured bricks.
Arthur Gugick likes making mosaics and making things out of Lego. Those two passions combine with this lenticular Lego mosaic of Batman and the Joker — the hero and villain whose raison d'être seem most closely intertwined in all of the comics.
As a kid, I used to wonder if I could live in a full-sized Lego house. As an adult, I know now that it would be very pointy and uncomfortable. But apparently, I wasn't the only child to have this thought; for his BBC show James May's Toy Stories, TV presenter James May had built and stayed overnight in a Lego house.
Lego wasn't designed to support the weight of an entire house on that scale, so the structure caused its architects some problems — but it did get built. The finished two-storey structure contained over 3.5 million bricks. All the furnishings were made from Lego, too. The house, alas, was demolished after May had spent his night in it.
There are over 1000 pieces in this Lego shield by software engineer Remi, but that's not what blew our minds the most. First is that it curves like a shield should, though nothing went into its construction but Lego pieces: no glue, no foam core, just Lego. It's pretty fragile as a result, but that's impressive. The second is the detail when you zoom in; the variety of pieces Remi used to create the shield's motifs are crazy, hilarious and creative, all at the same time.
This isn't as big as some of the other pieces here, but this fire graffiti by "brick alchemist" Cole Blaq is ingenious; we love the way he has managed to create an organic movement out of little plastic bricks.
Dispatchwork is a team of Lego guerrillas, all around the world, whose aim is to fill in the cracks in the walls and the holes in the ground with colourful plastic bricks.
The manifesto reads:
I don't enjoy living in dull and grey cities. Do you? Have you noticed that toys for kids are generally very shiny and colourful? I wonder why that is, given that they are to be brought up to live in mostly dull and gray cities as adults. Since I lived in many of such cities, I am seeking to improve the appearance of public spaces in different ways, in terms of what I consider improvement. Dispatchwork aims to seal fissures in broken walls worldwide, completing the material compilation in urban constructing and adding colour to the urban greyscales by inserting a very basic construction material: plastic construction bricks (PCBs).
And you know what? It works.
In the style of the Rube Goldberg machine comes this amazing thing by Japanese Lego and Great Ball Contraption enthusiast akiyuky. It took him over 600 hours to build, and its sole purpose is to move a bunch of balls from one point to another — very far away. This video goes for nearly eight minutes and we never see the same part of the machine twice. It's made almost entirely of Lego, with some small NXT machine components to keep the whole thing moving, and we're absolutely blown away by the ingenuity. At one point, it even uses a camera to sort the balls by colour, just because it can. One might even say it's ... amazeballs.
In comparison, this printer, which is made out of Lego and a felt-tip pen, might not look very exciting — until you consider that its creator, Adam (aka horseattack), didn't use a single Mindstorms component. Instead, he designed, built and coded it all from scratch, including analogue motor electronics, sensors and printer driver. Just because he could. It prints at around 75dpi — and then, also because he could, he released his schematics and instructions for free.
In Mamoru Oshii's Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence people are murdered by pleasure androids. In one scene (seen briefly below), one of the androids tears open her synthetic body to reveal the mechanisms within. We're not sure that we would have picked it as the subject for a Lego sculpture, but artist Arvo seems like a pretty strange fellow, if his other works are anything to go by. However, regardless of what we might or might not do, his work is excellent — if, occasionally, a little unsettling. His doll has articulated arms and fingers for extra-creepy pose-ability.