img.0LEGO outside LEGOLAND – All images ©Domenico Franco, courtesy of Domenico Franco.
In the 70s, while the famous Legoland fun park was being built in Billund, Denmark, Lego designers envisioned an ideal city called Legoland as well. It should have inspired future generations, but almost 40 years later that ideal city is still a dream. With the ironic photo-project LEGO OUTSIDE LEGOLAND, Rome-based architect Domenico Franco placed over-sized Lego vehicles along the street of his city to highlight the gap between utopia and reality.
At a first look the contrast between game and reality takes the stage. But if you look beyond the surreal effect, you might see impeccable Legoland merging with Rome human imperfection. “The inserted vehicles are filled with human flaws and virtues. One example? Who wouldn’t like to be able to land his helicopter by the Colosseum?”
The project was conceived without any polemic tone but with a tongue in cheek attitude and a disenchanted look on the contemporary city. “Look even closer… Why is the caravan parked on zebras?”.
“Porta Maggiore, one of the most fascinating monuments in Rome, is used as a traffic-divider as the Colosseum until 1978, A Lego-car carcass is parked in via Giulia, one of the most beautifil streets of the city. Why?”
Domenico Franco is a Rome-based architect who is fond of architecture, photography, his own city… and Lego. “Actually Lego has been my fist real passion since I was a child. As a grown up I re-discovered this game after a trip to Denmark. Since then, I joined the AFOL (Adults Fun of Lego) community and founded theitlug.org association”.
Lego is a rich source of inspiration for architects and designers. BRIXO: in Israel, Lego compatible building blocks bring design to life with the Internet of Things. Olafur Eliasson, Renzo Piano and OMA created an interactive and Lego imaginary cityscapes on New York High Line. In Japan, Kengo Kuma and musician Ryuichi Sakamoto launched Tsumiki Lego-like game that allows kids to express their architectural skills.
All images by © Domenico Franco.