LEGO blocks and figures have become a major icon in the world of toys and a staple of American boys' amusements, but the little plastic bricks attract fans far beyond the usual 6 to 12 year old boys who eagerly snatch up Ninjago and Star Wars sets. A growing adult fan base has developed in the last two decades, and their creative approaches to the toy have opened up whole new ways to play with and enjoy LEGO products.
Adult LEGO enthusiasts have been growing in numbers since the first LEGO User Groups first appeared in the mid-1990s. The LUGs, as they are generally known, provide adult fans with a community in which to share their interests and their creations. Fans also gather for LEGO conventions across the United States and around the world, where adult hobbyists keep tabs on the latest toy news and share their original constructions with the public. These events can attract thousands of visitors and hundreds of adult hobbyists, and LEGO displays and events are also becoming more common at other types of fan and pop culture conventions.
Some adult LEGO fans have even become internet celebrities thanks to their innovative and sometimes massive creations. Websites like iO9, Gawker, and Gizmodo feature especially impressive builds and promote the visibility of star builders like Sean Kenney, Nathan Sawaya, Mike Doyle, and Alex Eylar. High-profile adult builders often create structures that younger fans would not even dream of, including creations that require thousands of bricks, hundreds of hours, and a nuanced working knowledge of architecture, art, or popular culture.
Although the adult fan community makes up a very small part of the LEGO brand's overall consumer audience, they are changing the way in which the public perceives the toy, and their creations can be startling, beautiful, and truly awe-inspiring. To see some of the amazing things that adult hobbyists build, check out fan sites like The Brothers Brick, From Bricks to Bothans, and Classic Castle.
Think you're too old for LEGO fun? Time to dust off those sets in your mom's attic, or steal a few tubs from the kids, and rediscover the creative possibilities of little plastic bricks.