In today's 10K Club Interview, we meet 3D Brickvisuals artist Vida. His creation is a representation of Santiago Calatrava's Milwaukee Art Museum pavilion. Vida is an admirer of the architectural language of Calatrava but he will tell you more himself.
- Who are you?
Hello! My name is Vida András.
- Where are you from?
I’m from a little Hungarian town called Barót, in the middle of Transilvania! Currently living in Budapest, Hungary.
- How old are you?
I’m 28 years old.
- What do you study or do for a living?
I studied Architecture and I’m working as a 3D Artist in Brickvisual, Budapest, Hungary, mainly focusing on architectural visualizations.
- What hobbies do you have?
I can say I’m one of the lucky ones, whose hobby became his job! I love to design and present other architect’s designs of architecture, automotive design, interactive digital content. Other than that, I try to create artworks, I model digitally objects, constructions, vehicles that I’m inspired by. As you see this was a natural evolution from playing with LEGO all my life and of course it didn’t stop.
- Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?
Yes, have a look at my Artstation portfolio! I have LEGO designs uploaded there as well as some other designs/images that I made. ArtStation - Vida András
- 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 would say my proudest creations are the ones I uploaded to competitions on this website!
I had a huge success with the Volvo Rottweiler, I was invited to the Swedish Volvo Museum in Eskilstuna because of it, and to an exhibition in London! Great moments of my life.
I particularly like the Minerva Project, a mission to Mars, because I watched a lot of documentaries about the thematic, and all the different ideas on how to terraform Mars. It greatly inspired me, and I thought a lot about the actual design I created.
I also like a lot the images of the Ford Mustang Competition. That was my first time where I wrote a script in a 3d program to generate terrain out of LEGO pieces! If you investigate you will see, even the mountains are made out of LEGO!
So many times, I think back on all the models I created as a child and think how disappointing it is that I don’t even have a photo of them. All those awesome castles, trebuchets, catapults, ships, power ranger robots are gone. I think I understand better the Tibetan monks, who create mesmerizing Mandalas made from sand, and at the end, when it’s finished, they just blow it away. It has magic.
- How and when did your interest in LEGO come about?
It’s all thanks to my parents who bought my first LEGO kit when I was 3-4 years old: the 6335: Indy Transport set. It was mesmerizing. Since then I wanted LEGO for every Christmas and every birthday. I had a luck of 50-50 :)). As an adult I was suddenly surprised for a moment, that wait, now I can purchase what I want? :))
- What is LEGO for you? What does it mean for you? How does it fit in your life? E.g. build, display, meetups, play games, or 'just' watch cartoons.
For me, LEGO means a lot. I’m not trying to over-praise, but I think I can thank my creative professional life for it. It made my skills develop really early, I think in a problem-solving way, that comes across as super-strong in my profession, and when you are playing with LEGO, building something, and you don’t have the perfect pieces that you see in the LEGO magazine booklets, it makes you go around the problem and arrive in a solution that you are proud of. Interestingly I never played with LEGO in a storytelling way. I always just constructed, displayed, and was super happy for what I built. (Okay, maybe with catapults I enjoyed waking up my brother).
- What is your favourite LEGO theme (current or past)? Why? And has any theme inspired your building style or preference in any particular way?
For a long time, I was a huge fan of Star Wars. I still can remember how much I was looking at the LEGO Anakin Pod Racer in one of the Magazines, and thinking Woaaaw. Equal of that my next favorite theme is hands down the Medieval theme. Similar to that is the Ships, Pirates. I think Star Wars also fits this group of themes, as it presents a similar world to that of a medieval time, with Jedi Knights, Evil Sith, and cool spaceship designs!!! What more could a young boy want! Then in my teens, the theme shifted to LEGO Technic, with all those intricacies, complex systems.
I was always drawn to these archetypical stories of Knights, Pirates, Kings, and Queens. I don’t want to spoil, but my next build will be around these so stay tuned!
- What is your favourite official LEGO set? Why?
I thought about this hard and it’s crazy hard to chose one of the many. My favorite despite this is the 6335: Indy Transport set. The set that started it all. But not just because of that, it had a complex idea, it offered it all, camion with a trailer with 3 indie sports cars! There were moving pieces, there were hidden compartments, it was great.
- What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
Well, if it was hard to choose a favorite set, choosing a favorite piece! :)) My mind shifts to an element, that helped me the most to come out of difficult situations, and it might be the 3700 Technic, Brick 1 x 2 with Hole. An awesome piece for traps, catapults, hidden compartments.
- Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
Yes! I love the work of Mike Psiaki, creator of the Ford Mustang, Aston Martin, the original X-Wing fighter… truly a great inspiration.
- Is there one or more particular LEGO related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?
I think my favorite thing to check is Youtube, and all the creator videos, explanations, showcases, reviews.
ABOUT YOUR PROJECT
- Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
As I was always interested in architecture, but design in general, I have my favorite pieces. This building is the one I admire the most, as it gives such a strong impression, it’s truly an outstanding human achievement, design, and construction-wise as well.
- 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?
Before making the LEGO model I actually downloaded a 3d model of the real building, studying the angles, dimensions, how to simplify it, to arrive at the correct feel of proportions. I think this is one of the most important aspects of a real building, its proportions. If I didn’t get that right especially on a building designed with such great care and attention by the architect Santiago Calatrava, the LEGO model would have lost a lot of its magic.
- What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
I found myself having to choose between functionality as ease of construction multiple times as this building has a lot of curvy surfaces. For example, the main challenge was to keep the design elegant and simple at first glance, but still, trying to implement the open-close function with the wings. After achieving that result, I realized that I must come up with an easy way to construct the wings, in that elegant rotation as they are. It is achievable by implementing little stop pieces on each wing, but that means I must sacrifice the open-close function. This is one of the great challenges with the Museum. I have an idea how to keep the ease of construction with the open-close function, but it requires additional testing, which I’m doing currently.
- 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 would tell myself after the model is finished, to create a better presentation :-)) Having a gray background in retrospect doesn’t seem to be a great idea.
- 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’s still a running joke between me and my girlfriend, that one Saturday she went to a volleyball tournament and meanwhile I created the Milwaukee Art Museum for a competition on the Rebrick website, and I’m proud to say I won first place with it! “I leave you alone for just one Saturday and look what happens”.
Promoting the build was a much harder job. I created a model “Update” trying to fix/implement different functions, and the votes were coming steadily, everything seemed great until the interest started to stall. After that, I created a promo animation, and the effect of that was GRAND. A lot of Wisconsin / Milwaukee newspapers, tv, media, radio picked it up and for some days it got such a huge bump in votes that I got a new spirit-fuel to engage again, started sharing it on different LEGO Groups, etc. Even the architect, Santiago Calatrava shared it, which for me was an indescribable personal victory.
Link to 2 animations that I made:
- How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
It was a huge joy, and not just for me, but everybody who helped me reach it, my family, my girlfriend. It was a weekend of celebration.
The process was long to reach 10000. It took me almost 2 years! I can’t exactly pinpoint why that is, but nevertheless, we got here! :) Cannot be happier about it.
- Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
The build is around 1500 pieces.
- What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
The part that I’m most proud of is the solution to the curvy surfaces, especially the glass façade and wings. The glass façade is super interesting, as it has little stop pieces, that let the creator build it easily, but still arriving at something complex, giving a sense of achievement and that unique happiness when you are enjoying a LEGO Build.
- If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
I built the model in LEGO Digital Designer and rendered it in 3ds Max.
- If you used custom stickers or prints for your design, how did you create them or where did you get them?
There are no custom stickers, maybe just a print on one of the 1x8 flat tiles, the title “Milwaukee Art Museum”. I added that with Photoshop, but easily achievable, as there are many examples LEGO has to similar pieces.
ABOUT LEGO IDEAS
- Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
Try not to create something that is momentarily popular. Personally, I think the models that are original and are full of creative solutions are the most appreciated. Capture a feeling!
- What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea?
Mainly I tried to create appealing images out of my model! Contacting local newspapers, friends and family is also a great idea! I created 2 animations as well, I found that these help to keep the interest alive. For example, my girlfriend, Giulia Adami helped me a lot with sharing on social platforms, basically doubling the effectiveness and the vote counts. She also helped in creating the animations (credited at the end of those). Find people who can help you :)
- What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
One of my favorites is the LEGO Ideas 92176 NASA Apollo Saturn V. Such a great design, separation stages. Altogether an amazing build. Similar is the LEGO Ideas 21318 Tree House! Full of creativity and a feeling captured beautifully.
It’s always a joy and a heartbreak together when a review round comes, and your favorite might not make it, but in the end, I understand the Ideas team decisions, as there are factors in play that I don’t have much perspective about. I think they are doing a fantastic job.
- What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
This platform is a super great potential for LEGO to see what people are interested in, what is most popular based on actual votes! And the honor that we could have our model realized is just a dream come true. The best Idea might be this website itself. I think I can say what others already said, just go for it! Design something you are passionate about, put your heart into it, and don’t be discouraged. The website is super positive, everyone can give constructive feedback.
- 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?
Of course! As I described in the question, what are my favorite themes, you can find a hint in there that gives the answer away :D It will take some time to solve a complex surface.
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