Blog |

10K CLUB INTERVIEW: Magic Bookends by Rafael Ponce de León Martos

Let's give a round of applause to Rafael Ponce de León Martos, aka Brick Dangerous, on another fantastic offering to the 10K Club. Rafael's project is inspired by his love for books; this design captures the magic and mystery of them, with a unique story of its own. Leave a comment to show your support for Rafael's creation!

 

ABOUT YOURSELF

  1. Who are you?
    My name is Rafael Ponce de León Martos.


     
  2. Where are you from?
    Málaga, Spain.
     
  3. How old are you?
    36.
     
  4. What do you study or do for a living?
    I work in a fashion store.
     
  5. What hobbies do you have?
    I love playing with my children, reading comics, playing video games and, of course, building LEGO sets!
     
  6. Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?
    I always upload my creations to my instagram profile. There I also show the previous designs until I reach the final result of my projects.

    I also have a YouTube channel in Spanish where I talk about my constructions: the creational process, inspiration processes and the final results. I also talk about official LEGO sets and some fan designers.
     
  7. Have you created any LEGO MOCs (my own creations) that you’re particularly proud of? What is it, why are you proud of it and do you have a photo of it?
    I have two very special designs for me. The first is the 'Marine Life' project, which reached 10k but was rejected. Thanks to this project I met a lot of new people and became known as a fan designer.  Another design that I am very proud of is the project 'The Hourglass'. Every time I see it I think that it is simple and striking at the same time; something very difficult to achieve in any type of design.
     
  8. How and when did your interest in LEGO come about?
    From a very young age, I was maybe 4 or 5 years old and my parents gave me a bucket of basic pieces and that's where it all began. I had several sets until I was 15 or 16 years old. The following sets came as gifts from friends on my birthdays, when I was about 21 or 22 years old.

    I never really had a dark age since I always followed the LEGO sets that came out on the market and, especially, always played the video games. Now I am a collector and I also buy sets to play with my children.
     
  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.
    I am not wrong if I say that LEGO is present in my day-to-day life. I am a very creative person and I love thinking about what my next design will be. In fact, I have a notepad and I am writing down all my ideas so as not to lose them! Besides, I build my favorite official sets with my children, or play their most childish sets with them. I love helping them build and see how they evolve! And, of course, now I play LEGO video games with them!
     
  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 theme when I was a kid was LEGO City. To this day I still love this theme. I have to admit, however, that I am in love with LEGO Ideas. I always want to see what new set is coming out and what they surprise us with. Even so, I am a collector of the great pieces of other series such as Star Wars, Marvel, DC, etc. On the other hand, I think that no specific theme has inspired my way of building, but LEGO Ideas has made me think that LEGO products are something more serious than just any toy.
     
  11. What is your favourite official LEGO set ever? Why?
    Until recently my favorite set was the 6090, a medieval castle that I am very fond of and have kept since I was a child. This year, however, I bought the LEGO Ideas Treehouse set and I think it is the best LEGO set.
     
  12. What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
    Any bricks with studs on the sides. This opened the doors to make constructions that grew not only on the horizontal plane, but also on the vertical one. It offersmany creative options when building! I also really like the plates with a ball on the end, these pieces make the mobility of the constructions infinite!
     
  13. Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
    Yes; official LEGO designers, Justin Ramsden and Matthew Ashton. I saw a documentary about Justin where he told his story as a child with LEGO and how he managed to get a job at the company. His nobility and enthusiasm made me quickly identify with him personally. Also, I love their designs! About Matthew, I think his design of ‘Everyone is Awesome’ goes beyond the simplicity of the toy. It becomes something sculptural, a piece of design that conveys a very positive message.

    On the other hand, as a fan designer I admire Bricky_Brick since his designs encouraged me to start designing. And a very special mention to my friend Marcos aka Lepralego; I went from being a fan of his designs to talking to him daily and getting to know each other thanks to the LEGO Ideas platform. He is an excellent designer who evolves in each construction and is also a great person!
     
  14. Is there one or more particular LEGO-related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?
    In general, I spend a lot of time looking at the constructions on the LEGO Ideas website, but where I spend the most time is on Instagram. The infinite possibilities that LEGO offers is incredible, every day there is some construction that causes the WOW effect in me!

     

ABOUT YOUR PROJECT

  1. Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
    The interest of this project came because I love books. My father has transmitted that value to me. Since I was a kid I had many books, practically all adventure novels or comics. Today I continue to buy books and I wanted to pay tribute to this art. Creating a bookend was something I had in mind for a long time, but creating a bookend with the story behind it was the most fun. Some elves make toys at Christmas and others create the books that amuse us so much... also, their houses are recycled books!




     
  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?
    This design has been the one that I have dedicated the most time to. I have been able to spend 2 months from the original idea to the final result. It took longer to build this set because I did not have enough inspiration. At the time, I was also building ‘The Classic Telephone’ and I felt much more involved by that design. As soon as I finished the phone, I dedicated myself 100% to the bookend and got the final result!
     
  3. What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
    The construction went through several phases, first as a bookend with another motif. Then I thought that the books would be great built as if they were houses. Later, I added roofs but the design was very ornate and the books were no longer visible so I decided to remove the roofs. I did the most trial and error testing for the colours. The design went from having very bright (and tacky) colours, to
    having a similar range of pastel colours. This was a headache; I always have doubts with the colours!
     
  4. If you could talk to yourself before you started on this project, what would you tell him? What do you know now that you wish you knew then? 
    I would not change anything! I had fun every second that I spent building this set. The hardest parts – where I spent a lot of time – were the roofs of each book, as each one was different. In the end, no book has a roof, but I had a great time building them and trying new techniques!
     
  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?
    Although it took 2 months since I had the idea until I finalized the design. I didn't spend 2 months building. I built the base with some simple books in two days. Later, I spent about three or four days creating roofs and the tree. I let it rest for a few weeks and went back to the design to make it cleaner, simpler and more striking. That's where the colour tests (which lasted a week) started, so I'd say I did the design in about 2 weeks. I got involved in promotion much less than with other projects. In the first days, I published it in a WhatsApp and Facebook group, but not in all the ones I usually publish. The most effective for gaining support, however, was on Instagram. In addition to a Staff Pick, it helped increase visibily and did not take long to go viral.
     
  6. How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
    It took 58 days for the set to hit 10k. I felt great since a little over a year ago, I had never created an MOC. I also thought that as I had already reached 10k with "Marine Life", that it would be extremely difficult to repeat. I still can't believe it! The year 2021 was incredible!
     
  7. Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
    1496 pieces.
     
  8. What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
    The part I like the most about the design is that it has two functionalities; if you want, you can use it as a bookend. If not, you can use it as small houses to play with or have them on display on any shelf. With regards to the technical part, I would say that integrating a realistic construction of the books with a fantasy one (the houses) was complicated, but very fun to build.


     
  9. If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
    Bricklink Studio 2.0, and later I integrated this design on a shelf that I have at home thanks to photoshop software.
     
  10. If you used custom stickers or prints for your design, how did you create them or where did you get them?
    The titles of the books are created with photoshop. Some I created with Part Designer and others are integrated directly through photo editing software.

     

ABOUT LEGO IDEAS

  1. Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
    I think it is important to look for something that breaks with normality, or something that has never been seen before. If you have an idea, search the web to see if it already exists. If so, stop, think about it, improve it and go ahead. If it doesn't exist, it's already taking time to build it! The secret of each construction is in the imagination. Try to become a child while building, enjoy each union of bricks and think about how you would use a piece in a different way. If you have a good time building, you will have a good result.
     
  2. What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea? 
    WhatsApp groups, Facebook and also my Instagram profile. 
     
  3. What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
    As I said before, I think the Treehouse is the best LEGO set, but I have to say that I love Dinosaur Fossils and the Old Fishing Store. As a design that could not be released, I think Little Venice by Bricky Bricks is great. I also think the Futurama ship would be on my shelves. And a design that still has a chance of becoming a reality if it reaches 10k is Lepralego's "Notting Hill" design. Hopefully it reaches 10k and The LEGO Group makes it a reality!
     
  4. What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
    I was attracted to the idea that a company as large as The LEGO Group is able to listen and appreciate what external people create with their products, to the point that they can commercialise these designs! It's great!

    To those who hesitate to upload their ideas, I tell them to dare to do so. In the community, they are very respectful of the work of others. I have learned a lot here and have also made friends!
     
  5. Do you have plans to submit any other Product Ideas in the future? If yes, can you give us a hint of what that might be?
    I have several ideas in mind. Just this morning I had one that swept the rest, so I think this week, or the next, I will start building. I can not give any clues, it brings bad luck!
  • 10k club
  • 10k club interview
  • product idea
  • rafael ponce de len martos
  • magic bookends
  • brick dangerous
Published
69 comments
69 comments

Opens in a new window