Although the LEGO Group was founded in 1932, at the time the company was very different to what it is today. Rather than producing the plastic interlocking bricks that we know and love, Ole Kirk Christiansen was manufacturing wooden toys during the early years. It was only in 1958 that the modern design for the LEGO brick was finalised. That brick would become the icon that represents the LEGO brand, so its sixtieth anniversary is being celebrated this year.
With just how important the 2×4 brick is to the LEGO Group, it makes perfect sense for the launch of that block to be the anniversary that the company celebrates. That the same brick – or a slightly evolved version of it – still exists today is a remarkable achievement. Very few toy lines last for sixty years, but even fewer use the same components for sixty years. For the 2×4 brick to still be at the heart of the entire building system is something truly unique.
The longevity of the LEGO brick, and the system that it spawned, has allowed multiple generations to become enamoured with this creative medium. LEGO User Groups (LUGs) are made up of people in their twenties, people in their sixties, and every decade in between. It goes without saying that every generation of children experiences LEGO pieces – it may be NINJAGO and Friends instead of Pirates and Paradisa, but the elements and concept are fundamentally the same.
What the 2×4 brick represents is truly impressive, and one of the reasons that the LEGO Group is so keen to celebrate it. To LEGO fans, it is a piece of childhood, something that connects being an adult with those formative years, bridging a gap in a way that few things can. But beyond that, for many people who would not label themselves LEGO fans, it still represents creativity, imagination and individuality – a studded plastic block has acquired an awful lot of meaning.
There will in all likelihood be lots of activity on the way this year to celebrate sixty years of the brick, and it has already started with a special commemorative product theme. 60 years of the LEGO brick is made up of five LEGO sets, predominantly containing standard bricks, but also including more bespoke pieces. Each of these sets contains a special printed tile with the anniversary logo on. The concept behind the sets looks to be a celebration of creativity and individuality, with the focus on pure imagination rather than prescriptive building. A polybag, 30499 Robot, will also be showing up at some point.
Another set that will celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the LEGO brick is 40290 60 Years of the LEGO brick, which is a more traditional building kit. The instructions and bricks included allow fans to create mini representations of four iconic LEGO sets that are fondly remembered, namely 6399 Airport Shuttle, 375 Castle, 6285 Black Seas Barracuda and 928 Space Cruiser And Moonbase. The set will be part of a shop.LEGO.com and LEGO Store promotion later this month.
These sets are just the beginning, and LEGO aficionados should expect many more opportunities to engage with sixty years of the classic brick over the next 12 months. In the past, the LEGO Group has held build contests, toured classic set displays and shared behind the scenes insights. Brick Fanatics will be celebrating the beloved brick too, so keep your favourite website bookmarked to stay up to date with all of the sixtieth anniversary activity and enjoy a special year celebrating all things LEGO.