The team here at The Lego Car Blog are all big LEGO fans, so the unexpected success of this ropey little website has been – in a way – a dream come true. It’s also meant that for some builders, seeing their work appear here is their dream come true. Whilst we still find this a little weird we’re always delighted when we can make it happen. However there are a few builders who dream… bigger.
One such builder is Andrea Lattanzio aka Norton74. Andrea’s work has appeared here numerous times and he’s one of our Master MOCers too. Recently though, his achievements with bricks have gotten a lot bigger, as Andrea has become one of just fifteen Master Builders worldwide selected to have their work showcased in the new ‘Masterpiece Gallery’ at the incredible LEGO House in The LEGO Group’s home in Billund, Denmark.
Andrea has recently returned from a trip to LEGO’s spectacular new building to join us in one, er… less spectacular. Over to Andrea to tell all about his amazing achievement and how his Lego dream came true.
TLCB: Hello Andrea! You’ve just come back from The LEGO House in Billund where you’ve seen your work featured! Tell us how it happened!
Andrea Lattanzio: First of all I thank you for this chance, I am always very happy to share my passion and my story with other AFOLs and LEGO fans.
I returned a few days ago after a whole week spent between Billund (the hometown and historical HQ of The LEGO Company) and Skaerbaek, a tiny village in western Denmark where for years one of the most important, if not the most important, LEGO fan weekend is held.
The reason for this trip was unique and unrepeatable and even now I find it hard to believe that it really happened. In fact, I was chosen by The LEGO House to exhibit my works in the Masterpiece Gallery along with 14 other ‘Master Builders’ from all over the world.
TLCB: Congratulations! How did they choose you and when did you find out?
Andrea Lattanzio: In order to choose which builders to exhibit in the Masterpiece Gallery (where the builds are on display to the public for a whole year), The LEGO House team asked Lego User Groups around the world to suggest the most deserving builders. In addition, they also checked the Flickr galleries of the most famous builders and then, eventually, selected their finalists.
In my case ItLug suggested, among others, my name and so last March I was contacted by The LEGO House who proposed that they would like to exhibit my works for a year in the Masterpiece Gallery. Obviously, my answer was positive and when I read the email I did not believe it!
TLCB: How did you choose which of your creations to exhibit?
Andrea Lattanzio: The choice of the models was coordinated with The LEGO House team. It was not easy because the showcases, where the MOCs are shown, are quite small and therefore it was necessary to choose small builds. At the beginning they asked for my ESSO Gas Station but it was too big, so we opted for the Scooter Shop and the Shell Gas Station (the latter in mini-fig scale). Unfortunately both were too deep and I had to work to shrink them and bring them under 30cm. There was room for two other small MOCs so I also brought two hot rods which, in my opinion, are amongst the most beautiful I’ve built.
TLCB: How did the LEGO House team host you and how did the set-up day go?
Andrea Lattanzio: Since I set foot in the hotel in Billund until I left the ‘Home of the Brick’, I had the feeling of being ‘spoiled’ and ‘cuddled’ by The LEGO House team. Everything was perfectly organised and they knew exactly who I was and what I had built over the years. They were all very kind and they gave myself and the other ‘Master Builders’ very special treatment with some beautiful gifts.
The set-up day was exciting and I think I will never forget it. We spent all day in the facility and we had lunch and dinner together. Each ‘Master Builder’ dedicated themselves to set up their own part of the display, adding value to the exhibition as best as they could. We also received a guided tour and there was a presentation by Stuart Harris, a senior designer at LEGO. In short, it was one of those days that I will remember forever!
TLCB: You recently publicised some Norton74 mini-figures on your Facebook page, what do they represent?
Andrea Lattanzio: Exhibiting at The LEGO House Masterpiece Gallery is a unique and unrepeatable event and to celebrate it I thought about creating a limited series of mini-figures. I was lucky enough to personally give the number one mini-figure to the grandson of The LEGO Company’s founder, Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, who gave me his own in return; a really precious memory.
TLCB: That sounds great! Will you return to Billund before the end of your time as Master Builder?
Andrea Lattanzio: Yes I will. I want to come back with my family to show them my display and the rest of The LEGO House, and Legoland too. I’ll also need to return next September to bring my creations back home and discover the new models that will be displayed. Visiting The Lego House is always worth it!
A huge thank you to Andrea for sharing his story with us here at TLCB. You can check out his models on loan to The LEGO House via the links in his interview above and you can jump straight to his Flickr account, Instagram page, and Facebook page using these handy links.