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10K Club Interview: The Temple of Hermit by Minwoo Kang

Let me introduce you to Minwoo Kang aka Brickfornia, the creator of Temple of Hermit and our 10K Club member in focus for today!

Please do help us congratulate Minwoo in the comments down below :D

About Yourself

  1. Who are you?
    Hello everyone! My name is Minwoo Kang.
  2. Where are you from?
    I was born in South Korea and grew up in Japan. Now I’m in Canada to study.
  3. How old are you?
    I’m eighteen years old.
  4. What do you do for a living?
    I am a high school student who is seeking to study architecture in post-secondary.
  5. What hobbies do you have?
    My main hobbies are sketching, photographing, reading, and of course, collecting and designing Lego!
  6. Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?
    I have my Flickr. You can see me and my twin brother’s other Mocs there!
  7. Have you created any LEGO MOCs (my own creations) that you’re particularly proud of? What is it, why are you proud it and do you have a photo of it?
    Of course! This is one of the best projects of mine “The New Concept House”. This project is collaboration with my twin brother legoceo. You can see more detailed-photos in my Flickr. The reason I proud of it is that it includes all types of furniture, equipment, and rooms for minifigure family to live.

  8. How and when did your interest for LEGO come about?
    I have been playing Lego since I was six. The fist Lego set I was given in my birthday was Lego Police Headquarters Set 7744. After I build it with my twin brother, we found it so amusing that we never bought other toys but Lego since then. Now, we are building our own creations by Studio.
  9. What is LEGO for you? What does it mean for you? How does it fit in your life? E.g. build, display, meetups, play the games.. or 'just' watch the cartoons.
    Lego is an important source for creative people who has a strong desire to make their imagination in shape. For example, When I was ten, I visited my uncle’s home in Florida which I really liked, especially the front yard and the large interior. Therefore, as I came back to my home in Japan, I came up with building my uncle’s house with lego. It was me and my brother’s first Lego MOC. We were able to expand our creativity through this project. The photo below is the house (Although it is snow, it’s still Florida)
  10. What is your favourite LEGO theme (current or past)? Why? And has any theme inspired your building style or preference in any particular way?
    My favorite Lego themes are Creator Expert and Ninjago city. Creator  expert sets gave me an idea to build Temple of Hermit on 32x32 baseplate and make no blank space for all sides of the plate. I wish I could have had Ninjago city sets before I build this temple because it gave me many inspirations of a Japanese building. 
  11. What is your favourite official LEGO set? Why?
    It is very hard to choose. But I have to say Lego Ninjago city 70620. I was really fascinated by its details, structures, and minifigures. I wish I could live in there!
  12. What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
    It is quite hard to answer. But I would like to say saxophone. Unlike its size, it includes sufficient details and looks very realistic when minifigure holds it. When it comes to building materials, brick, modified 1x2x12/3 with studs on one side is my favorite, although I had no chance to use it in this project.
  13. Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
    It is also a very hard question because there are many lego designers whom I admire. But I would like to say Markus Bass, designer of Firehouse Headquarters, and Jamie Berard, chief designer of Parisian Restaurant and other expert sets. I remember that I used to watch Mr. Berard’s Creator expert sets’ videos on Youtube. Also, I admire the structure of Firehouse Headquarters by Mr. Bass. I think it is far the best structure for a vast building.  
  14. Is there one or more particular LEGO related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?
    Well, I usually find ideas from Pinterest and Flickr. There are many inspirational lego ideas.  

About Your Project

  1. Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
    When I was in junior high school in Japan, I encountered a lot of beautiful Japanese buildings in Kyoto. My favorite was Byōdō-in temple and the five-story pagoda in Tō-ji. After I got interested in Japanese architecture, I started to learn more about its structures and details through Wikipedia and Pinterest. However, it was my mother who gave me the advice to build a Japanese building with Lego. I first thought it was impossible to build such a unique shape with Lego professionally. But I got surprised when I first completed it and saw the rendered photo of final-looking. It was more than my expectation!! I thought it could be the first lego Asian building except for Ninjago, so I decided to submit it in Lego ideas!
  2. How long was the process of making the project did, and what did you have to research as well. What kind of prep, research and design phases did you go through to produce your creation?
    Since this was my first time using digital software to create Lego, and second time building my own creation, it took almost six months to finish. At the time, I had just learned that Japanese pagoda can stay stable in harsh earthquakes because of the central pillar; I tried to apply the technique as well.
  3. What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
    I struggled to incorporate two buildings in 32x32 baseplate. Since roofs must be big in order to meet the buildings’ ratio, the two buildings had to overlap on one side. I struggled for beautifully overlaying each buildings’ roof.

  4. If you could talk to yourself before you started on this project, what would you tell him/her? What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
    I wish I could talk to myself to make a step for each brick before laying them continuously. I’m still struggling to make instruction. Also, I want to make myself have a stability check regularly. (although I couldn’t because I used LDD first)
  5. How long did it take to complete the model? Did you finish it fairly quickly, or did it take a long time? And how did the build time compare to the time you spent promoting your Product Idea to reach 10,000 supporters?
    I spend almost six months to complete this model. I even spend time designing the roof when I had a family trip to Europe. First, it wasn’t easy to be used to handle LDD and Studio properly. But the main reason for taking such a long time was that I built this without any specific plan, and I changed the design and the colors again and again according to my mood.
  6. How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
    Only 98 days left when it reached 10,000 supporters. I announced to my family and friends right after it achieved support. I felt very proud of myself since it was my first lego ideas project using computer software!
  7. What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
    My favorite building technique I incorporated in the building is using a hinge plate to make a curve of the roof. Although this technique is very simple, I think it is very innovative and well-reflected the Asian roof. (I later found the same technique was used in other brick company’s product, but I guarantee mine was the first.).
  8. If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
    I first used LDD for my model. But right after I completed, I found Studio, which has more color options and bricks, so I finished details and rendering in Studio. The bricks I used in LDD are all available in BrickLink.
  9. If you used custom stickers or prints for your design, how did you create them or where did you get them?
    I didn’t use any custom stickers or prints for this project, simply because I didn’t know how to make them. But I heard Adobe illustrator is the best software to make them, so I will try it for my next project!!

About LEGO Ideas

  1. Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
    I would like to say that the most important points of a successful product are all about details. First, you will notice how small parts of the project or even invisible parts of the project can have an impact on the overall looking of your project. Also, if you are going to do original projects, let your experience and individuality appear in your model. It is the best way to maximize your creativity. 
  2. What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea?
    First, I took enough time to make the cover image. I noticed I couldn’t get enough supports even my project is well-done unless my cover is attractive. I strongly recommend using attractive colors in both your project and the background. Second, it is better to have astonishing structures or technics, whether it is simple or complicated, but no one has come up with yet. I think many lego ideas users evaluate those details, judging from my supporters’ comments.  
  3. What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
    My favorite Lego Ideas products are Auto Repair Garage 1930s by legoceo, and Working Watermill With Interior & Power Functions by mind the brick. You should check both of them.
  4. What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
    The platform that attracts me is that lego ideas’ official designers consider all 10k projects several months, whether it should be official set or not. But, what attracts me the most is that my project can be an official set!
  5. Do you have plans to submit any other Product Ideas in the future? If yes, can you give us a hint what that might be?Of course! I will start creating other product ideas as soon as my university applications are over. It will be an uncanny building!
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