One of the companies featured in the current exhibition ‘Danish Design at the House’, LEGO Group is a Danish business that took two decades to perfect the LEGO brick. Today it remains family-run, and is the sixth largest toy manufacturer in the world.
November 4th, 2013
The Danish LEGO Group has been a family run business for three generations.
The company was born in 1932 from the vision of Ole Kirk Kristiansen, a carpenter at who laid the foundation for the world’s most successful toy company when he began manufacturing wooden toys.
One of the ﬁrst toys Ole Kirk Christiansen made was a wooden yo-yo. It was very popular among the children of the day, but interest eventually waned, and the toy manufacturer was left with a problem: What to do with a warehouse full of yo-yos that no-one wanted to buy? The solution he found was to separate the yo-yos into two halves and use these as wheels on the next toy.
This indomitable and creative approach characterises the LEGO® family: There are no problems – only challenges. By 1954, Kristiansen’s son, Godtfred, had become the junior managing director of the LEGO Group, who first envisioned the LEGO bricks to be a wonderful tool for creative play.
It took the company a few more years to perfect the modern LEGO brick and by 1958 LEGO bricks had come into production. The vision of the company was to inspire creativity in children and produce a toy that challenged their imagination.
All LEGO elements are beautifully designed. The pieces are fully compatible, irrespective when they were made. The interlocking principle which is key to LEGO means bricks are easy to snap together, they hold together and yet are equally easy to snap apart.
In 1979 Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, grandson of Ole Kirk, took over the company and is still vice-president and majority shareholder. Both grandson and grandfather have been inducted into the Toy Hall of Fame for their significant contribution to the toy industry. The company has come an incredibly long way over the past 80 years – from a small carpenter’s workshop to a 21st century, international venture that is now, in terms of sales, the world’s sixth-largest manufacturer of toys.
In late September LEGO created a creator’s set replicating the Sydney Opera House in 3000 pieces.
LEGO Group is also taking part in ‘Danish Design at The House’, an innovative exhibition marking 40 years of the Sydney Opera House. The exhibition runs from 26 October until 11 November 2013 in the Western Foyer of the Opera House.
“LEGO Australia is excited to be a part of the 40th birthday anniversary at the Opera House. We look forward to celebrating our Danish heritage with our fun LEGO Play Pit and a display of our LEGO brick Opera House as a tribute to this iconic building” said Caroline Squire, Director of Marketing for LEGO Australia and New Zealand.
Danish Design at The House
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