Lighting LEGO

January 14, 2004

Creativity and curiosity are two attributes that children’s toy company LEGO seeks to generate in children through play. So when LEGO was in search of a new lighting scheme as part of a complete store redesign for its Cologne, Germany location they sought a solution that reflected that same “play well” learning philosophy.

Toys have developed beyond simple static playthings - toys now come alive with sounds, motion and light - and LEGO sought a lighting solution reflective of that. The lighting brief called for a playful and dynamic yet easily manageable lighting system capable of creating a variety of moods. Both eye-catching and stimulating, the concept would include changing shades of color and lively projected images, aimed at targeting different groups of customers through light. Lighting design was a collaboration between LEGO’s own design team and Martin Scandinavia.

Martin Architectural Cyclo 04 fluorescent color changing luminaires with RGB mixing and color correction control were chosen as the mood generating color changer. Tucked neatly away at the ceiling’s perimeter, the slim T5 fluorescent color changers are hidden behind shelves of toys, encircling the store in color. Mounted behind semi-transparent acrylic fronts, the Cyclos project an even coat of color onto surrounding walls and ceiling.

The Cyclo’s have been programmed to illuminate changing shades depending on the time of day. During the early morning ‘mother and child’ hours, whites, pinks and light blues dominate. The afternoon sees deeper blues and darker purple shades as students and young adults frequent the store.

LEGO comes in many varieties and themes, which often require special attention. Several sections of the store, including Point Of Sale displays and an interactive play area, therefore received special lighting consideration. One of these areas, an interactive “explore” play area, is washed in color by Alien 02 color changers while logos from MAC 250 profile spots playfully sweep the floor.

At a special “Pick a Brick” area – similar to the familiar ‘pick your own candy’ bins of a candy store – color from fiber optic enhances the assorted shades of the LEGO bricks, enticing children to help themselves while appearing cool to the touch. A Martin FiberSource QFX 150 fiber optic illuminator capable of emitting nine different colors powers the side-emitting fiber. The fiber harnesses were all pre-prepared on site for very quick installation.

Other distinct areas include LEGO Bionicle POS displays located mid store onto which MAC 300 washlights and MAC 250 profile spots shed cool tones (LEGO Bionicle is a popular action figure concept from LEGO). Lastly, more Cyclo 04s located in the front shop window area maintain a dynamic and inviting façade.

Employees need not worry about lighting control, images or changing the lighting scheme - it’s not only all automatic, it’s often controlled from LEGO’s headquarters in Billund, Denmark. New lighting and color schemes for example are created in Martin’s PC-based LightJockey control software with aid from Martin ShowDesigner design software, and then uploaded overnight via the Internet and recorded into the store’s Medialon lighting control system. Power for all the store’s lighting, including the automated and general store lighting, is controlled via a Martin PSP Switchpack.   

LEGO’s Cologne store is not the only LEGO store with such a unique lighting system. Stores in Moscow and Milton Keynes, England also benefit from Martin Architectural lighting systems.