Here comes, Marcos! Today we meet Marcos Garavelli aka Lepralego, the designer of this beautifully thoughtful, and introspective look at a train station - The Meeting Point. Marcos' reflects upon the semantics and deeper meanings of the train station, creating a build which mirrors these reflections stunningly. Show us your love for this beautiful and fascinating project!
- Who are you?
My name is Marcos Garavelli.
- Where are you from?
I’m from Spain, born in Argentina.
- How old are you?
- What do you study or do for a living?
I’m a professional photographer.
- What hobbies do you have?
I love cinema, music and I’m also a big football fan. I’m interested in gardening and cooking, but I’m just a beginner at both. LEGO building is more than a hobby for me so that’s why I’m not including it in this list.
- Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?
I share my LEGO creations on my Instagram, Facebook and my Flickr.
- 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?
Yes, I’ve been working for a couple of years (yes, years!) on a Haussmann-style building. I have called it Boulevard des Lumières. It has been a major challenge for me because of its size and the amount of pieces it has (18,500 parts…) and also because of my lack of knowledge in the field. I’ve learned a lot during the process: building techniques, Bricklink orders, parts, colours, proportions.
- How and when did your interest in LEGO come about?
When I was a kid I used to love building new things with my LEGO bricks. I remember that I was always trying to build big cities in my room and most of the time I ran out of pieces. One day, as an adult with a stable job and living in another country, I went inside a toyshop by chance and when I saw the LEGO boxes on a shelf: I felt again that old passion, so on impulse I bought a LEGO set.
- 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.
Well, since the day I mentioned in your last question (17 years ago) the presence of LEGO bricks in my everyday life has not stopped growing, and LEGO Ideas has been extremely important in this process. Nowadays, I find myself constantly thinking of new ideas, imagining scenes, reliving memories. I even wake up at night to write down things I have dreamed of! I feel excited, energetic, optimistic and want to build more and more. I’m deeply grateful to this platform for all that it has awakened in me and proud to be part of its community.
- What is your favourite LEGO theme (current or past)? Why? And has any theme inspired your building style or preference in any particular way?
I think that the 1980s train sets (also known as The Grey Era), especially the 12V system, marked the pinnacle of the train theme, with their lampposts and remote-controlled signal points, crossings and decouplers. I dreamed of owning those sets practically all my childhood, but I was never able to do it. Perhaps that unfulfilled desire that accompanied me for so long is behind the love I feel today for LEGO products! The modular buildings of the Creator Expert theme introduced in 2007 were also very important in my life
- What is your favourite official LEGO set ever? Why?
My favourite has always been the Green Grocer (10185). It was the first modular that I fell in love with and for me something special emanates from it. It was an important step forward since it was there that interior details began to be incorporated. Thanks to that set, the series was consolidated, and the others arrived. For me, personally, it was the set that changed everything; it meant a change in my priorities and the conviction that I want to be close to LEGO sets in one way or another every day.
- What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
The part 4070, 1x1 angular brick (commonly known as ‘headlight’) is for me the best LEGO part ever. It has multiple options for bracket techniques, and it is also a great part for offset techniques as it gives you the possibility of ‘breaking’ the 20 LDU width sequence of the regular bricks, reducing it to 16 LDU.
- Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
When I think about LEGO designers, Jamie Berard is always in first place. His designs have influenced me and so many people so much and for so long that no amount of thanks is enough. Marcos Bessa has inspired me too. He has built many of the most incredible LEGO sets released to date: The Ewok Village, the Ghostbusters Headquarters and the last Diagon Alley are some of the standout examples. I also admire the work of Justin Ramsden: his Spring Lantern Festival raised the level of beauty of the whole line; the Milan Madge’s work in Pirates of Barracuda Bay was outstanding, and the last NASA Space Shuttle Discovery was great, too. Cesar Soares, who worked with treehouses before The LEGO Group hired him, has done an incredible job adapting the Ideas Treehouse by Kevin Feeser.
In the fan designer field, I admire Jonas Kramm’s work and love the style of Andrew Tate (Snaillad). Luca Petraglia, Rocco Buttliere, Michael Haas, Jessica Farrell, Alice Finch and Warren Elsmore blew my mind so many times with their builds. From the Lego Ideas platform I would like to mention again my friend Pablo Sánchez (Bricky_brick) and Rafael Ponce de León (Brick Dangerous). Pablo inspired me and so many fan designers here and outside this platform and Rafa is a brilliant designer and a great friend I’ve met in this platform. I would like to mention again Ivan Guerrero (bulldoozer), Lionel Martin (Castor-Troy), Vaggelis Ntezes (Delusion Brick), Truman (Legotruman), Maria Kalaoglou (Mind the Brick), Nick Lafreniere (NickLafreniere1) and Gab Kremo (GabKremo). It’s a pleasure to share all this experience with all of you, my friends!
- Is there one or more particular LEGO-related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?
Bricklink.com is always open on my desktop, for checks about existing parts, inventories of sets and piece availability. I regularly visit Newelementary.com for news related to new parts and colours. Brickset.com is the reference guide for official LEGO sets. I also visit Eurobricks.com quite often, as well as its forums.
ABOUT YOUR PROJECT
- Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
Train stations have always amazed me. They are magical places where a large part of the stories of our lives are written. They are places of transition, of unsummoned crowds, of anonymous glances, of waiting, thought and reflection. I must say that I love being in them and watching what happens there. Their aromas (not always pleasant), their sounds, their colours and light/shade. I’m always propelled to ask myself: where is that person going? What is she/he reading? What are they about to eat?
Train stations, like other public arenas such as squares, statues or monuments, are meeting points for both tourists and local citizens. These are physical locations, but also symbolic ones where people agree to meet. Like those spaces, I consider this project to be a meeting point between those who come and go, those who run and those who wait patiently, between the city and the periphery, between the old and the modern, between our current location and our destination.
- 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?
It took me about 3 months to complete the whole process from the initial idea to the final submission. I always try to research new techniques for each project. This time I wanted to create a glass structure for the roof, and I knew I would have to use LEGO Technic parts and I’m not an expert in that area. I decided to buy and build a new Technic set. I built the Mobile Crane (42108). Although this construction has nothing in common with the roof of a train station, the experience helped me to learn more about LEGO Technic pieces and get used to all the new beams, panels and parts available.
- What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
When I started the first sketches of the design on paper I quickly understood that the project needed a special complexity. The main idea was to create a mix of classic and modern architecture, a meeting point between both styles. I decided to build the main hall at an angle, respecting the old classic façade’s position, as it happens many times with real train stations, trying to express that feeling of restored and additive architecture. I spent a lot of time trying to solve the mathematical thing of the diagonals and the curved glass structure.
- 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?
Perhaps I could say: ‘If you solve the diagonal and rounded glassy roof mathematical problem then you have a good project, otherwise not.’
- 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?
It took almost 2 months to reach the 10k supporters needed. This is my 7th Ideas project, and in this one I’ve changed my way of design. All my previous projects were digitally designed. This time I started to use a new kind of mixed physical and digital workflow, so I could say I’ve built this model both physically and digitally at the same time. In the last year I became a collector of pieces, each time I go to a LEGO store I buy many pick-a-brick-wall cups. I’ve also made many Bricklink orders to complete the parts needed. For the Ideas submission, I took photographs of the physical build. Later, I made some video renders of the digital version to share on my social media. All this process took me approx. 3 months and I’ve really enjoyed it. So, this time was more ‘designing time’ than ‘supporting time’.
- How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
I feel so grateful for the support received and also for being part of this awesome community. Each time I reach the 10k goal (this is my 3rd one) I feel so thrilled. This project is also very special, as I mentioned before. I dreamt all my childhood of LEGO trains and LEGO catalogues. I think somehow this project is dedicated to the kid I was - and I still am; always in love with LEGO trains.
- Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
This set consists of approximately 2,850 pieces and includes 8 minifigures.
- What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
I think the angled glassy roof structure is the highlight of this build.
- If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
I’ve used Studio 2.0 mainly to test structures and try different colour schemes. Then I build the model with real LEGO pieces.
- If you used custom stickers or prints for your design, how did you create them or where did you get them?
I created them in Photoshop and printed them in a glossy sticker paper with my home printer.
ABOUT LEGO IDEAS
- Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
Build what you love, this is for you! You are the first 'visitor' to your work. I think that you'll always go further trying to be honest with yourself than trying to please people at any cost.
- What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea?
I think that my Instagram account and Facebook pages helped in the support of this project. I’ve made some videos of this model with different lighting situations and shared them in many LEGO fan groups.
- What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
Two things: Being ‘in touch’ with the company I love since I was a child and the LEGO Ideas’ Community. When you submit a project, it starts a wonderful period of interaction and feedback with people with shared interests, passions, doubts and concerns.
- 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 many other projects right now gathering support, you can check out my profile: Lepralego. About future projects, I feel uncomfortable anticipating things that may change during the design process.
- 10k club
- 10k club interview
- product idea
- marcos garavelli
- the meeting point