Product Idea |

Côte d'Infinity

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Fed up with the dreary winter days in the North? Escape to your favourite (imaginary) holiday home on the Côte d'Azur, where you cool down in the infinity pool, looking out over the hills of the Provence, and where you lounge on the patio in the evenings with a quality bottle of French wine and some cheese. In the still pleasantly cool mornings, you can sit on the balcony and enjoy the crazy blue of the Mediterranean in the distance. The few times where you feel for some action, you go for a walk in the hills, or trim your rows of Lavender bushes in your landscaped garden.

About the model
The house sits on a 32x32 baseplate of prime real estate, and is thus about 26 by 26 cm wide. Not counting the palm tree, it is about 12 cm high. It is deliberately of modest size, in order to make it a viable Lego set to build and produce. It consists of about 1700 bricks and weighs a little over 1 kilo. Although the pictures are computer renders, the model was first built physically, albeit with only minimal interior details. As such, I can vouch that it is reasonably solid and sturdy, and everything fits nicely. That includes the infinity pool and the palm tree, although the latter is clearly 16+ in terms of how fiddly it is to construct. The entire pool surface is rotated 45 degrees (for aesthetic reasons) which means that some creative solutions were required to get clean edges where water and land meet. Since the pool and part of the edge are rotated, there is some non-trivial attachment to the baseplate below it, but it is attached with two strategically located studs, and otherwise fits snuggly between the sides of the pool anyway.

All of the exterior can be built with existing part/color combinations, with the exception of perhaps two parts that can be easily added. When adding the interior details, I went digital (Stud.io), and decided to be a bit more experimental with part/color combinations, in order to get the required effect and not be too constrained by existing combinations. Many parts can be replaced by nearby alternatives in production, but of course I am hoping that TLG will be able to produce the fireplace in metallic copper and various details in chrome. We’ll see :)

About the design
Clearly, the overall design is inspired by houses you might find on the Côte d’Azur, although some commenters suggested that such houses can be found in Cancun or Arizona also, so I guess it fits a more general mould of ‘Mediterranean Architecture’. The design started with the infinity pool on the edge of a 32x32 baseplate, after which the house slowly evolved in the remaining space. I spent an inordinate amount of time tweaking the pool until it fitted my mental picture of it. I deliberately wanted the pool to be different than rectangular, and break the square pattern of the rest of the model. The diagonal part is meant to stick out, in order to add some tension and suggest an infinity pool that would offer a spectacular view of whatever would be down the hill. Of course, the fact that the non-standard pool would require some interesting building techniques and 16+ engineering, part of it hidden underneath, was a nice (intentional) bonus.

For the outside, I went for a clear, well-kempt, and somewhat posh appearance, with an overall parched, tan look to it, with the occasional splash of bright color in appropriate spots (pool, window blinds, lavender). Whereas the exterior is well illuminated, with sometimes a bit overexposed and saturated renders, for the interiors, I went for a more subdued and shady environment, with mostly natural and earthy tones (I used a lot of dark red, sand blue, dark tan and medium brown). Since the days in le Midi can be very bright, the houses don’t usually allow a lot of the sunlight in, and people appreciate a more shady environment inside.

In the design, particularly of the interior, I took great care to maintain a consistent scale. The dimensions of the baseplate implied a scale that is smaller than usual, that I estimate to be about 60% of minifig scale. In other words, minifigs and their usual collection of household items would look grossly out of place in this build. I tried to go for more abstract shapes to suggest certain items. The furniture is supposed to be 60’s minimalist, to reflect a classy and tasteful interior without much clutter. Because of the smaller-than-usual scale, I tried to involve half-stud offsets and include bricks that are smaller than 1x1 bricks, such as the ‘Container, Box 1 x 3 x 2/3 - Top Opening’ and ‘Brick, Modified 1 x 1 x 2/3 with Open Stud’ (thank you TLG), both 2/3 high, and the back of the ‘Brick, Modified 1 x 2 with Masonry Profile’, which gives you two drawers for the price of one brick.

The only minifig household item that I did include in the build is (of course) a baguette. However, it ended up very much out of context, as a …, well, go see for yourself!

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