OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign up, Login or Learn more

The Collectivity Project (Olafur Eliasson)

Image if you dumped 3 tons white LEGO bricks in a public space, and got the local citizens to build their city, as they would like to see it. That is exactly what The Collectivity Project did.

Photo of Anne Kjaer Riechert
6 9

Written by

The Icelandic/Danish artist Olafur Eliasson  has on several occasions collaborated with LEGO and donated 3 tons of white lego bricks to a community - and had the local local playful souls construct their city as they would like to see. The result is beautiful, as well as sparks dialog about urban settlement and the cities we live in. 

In Oslo, the 3 tons LEGO bricks were for instance placed in a public space, at TullinLøkka, a central location in the city which was going to be re-developed. 


Join the conversation:

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Nice one Anne. I'm wondering what happened with the inputs of the residents. Did the project aim to have an impact or what is it more an interactive art project to offer the opportunity to a community to express their dreams? thanks.

Photo of Anne Kjaer Riechert

I think it varies from concept to concept. In the case of Oslo, I believe that the LEGO building project was part of a larger user-inclusion process, where the local municipality organized workshops, lectures etc. Where people could raise their voice and get heard. The LEGO bricks was a clever way to get the attention of the media, a clever way to get many people together in one spot to collaborate and have fun together. I think it was used as a way to engage people - to get them interested on a deeper level with the other work that was done.

The LEGO buildings in themselves were not put forward as specific designs for buildings or infrastructure.

BUT... I think that Lego Serious Play, could be used as an interesting consultancy tool, to work with citizen groups who wish to re-design their city.

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Thanks Anne for the clarification. Even just bringing people together and starting a conversation is already very important. And these events were indeed a smart way to get started.
As for Lego Serious Play it can indeed be used, but simple Legos work fine too. I use them in my class and I know a couple of designers who use them in participatory design workshops. I've done some research about Lego Serious Play a while ago when they offered a consultancy service. Yet 2 years ago when I checked again (and I haven't lately) there were offering only the Lego serious Play kit and I figured out that I could build mine for less money. Have you been using Lego Serious Play kits? However overall I agree Legos are great tools and particularly when it comes to building spaces.

Photo of DeletedUser


Anne, this is cool. I have seen Olafur's exhibition in Tokyo several times, but didn't know he worked with LEGO.

This video helps me understand how people enjoyed the project:

I think it is very important for kids to make something really big (like buildings and cities) in public. Sometimes playrooms are too small for their creativity. In the future, they will become more aware of their surroundings and probably some will be excellent urban designers.

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Thanks Katsuyoshi for the link to the video. It does indeed give a sense of the engagement and the size of the "playroom".

Photo of Szilvia Varga

Oh I hope they will do this in Stockholm too! I love LEGO :)
Thanks for sharing!