But Brick By Brick is the latest exhibit to pop up in the city, and where Art of The Brick at TWOSE was produced and curated by the world-renowned brick artist Nathan Sawaya, Brick by Brick is a little more grassroots and a heck of a lot more Edmonton.
Edmonton, as in a 7.5-metre (24-foot) long model of the High-Level Bridge, as well as a to-scale model of the Muttart Conservatory itself. There is also a ton of other to-scale models of buildings from the YEG skyline that now decorate the feature pyramid. And all the works were designed and built by hand by the enthusiasts with the Northern Alberta Lego Users Group (NALUG).
Michel Magnan, a founding member of NALUG, built the model of the Muttart’s iconic pyramids. His original vision for the model, which he says is his favourite, was a 30-inch by 30-inch display. “I thought that was doable in a reasonable amount of time.” But when Muttart management saw Magnan’s mockup, it said the model needed to be even bigger, so he tripled its size.
Magnan says this project was well over two years in the making. It’s also not the first time that Muttart Conservatory and NALUG have collaborated on an event, having done holiday shows at the glass pyramids in the past.
The growing interest in Lego as a cultural icon has been really interesting for Magnan, who has been with NALUG since its founding in 1999. He says the internet has been a huge driver for the craft.
“Before the internet, you kind of had your own weird hobbies, and you thought you were the only one,” he says. “And then with the internet, you kind of got to meet other people with the same interest, and that’s kind of how the club [was built].”
And now he says it is quite gratifying to see the prevalence and mass interest in Lego and have his own work be featured in so many different institutions over the years. While NALUG has been present at hobbyist institutions for years, it now has its work viewed by thousands across the city with exhibits like Brick by Brick.