GA Article: All the world’s a LEGO™ playground (4)
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It all started with wood
LEGO™ came into being around 1930, when a Danish carpenter from Billund in Jutland fell on hard times building houses. He supplemented his trade making wooden toys and was so successful that he was soon only making his wooden building blocks. He called the company LEGO™, a mix of the Danish words To play and Good. LEGO™ also means I build in Latin, so it was the perfect name for a perfectly simple toy. The building blocks of today’s LEGO Carpenter Ole Kirk Christiansen was a visionary man and he was soon importing technology to produce injection-moulded plastics, revolutionising manufacturing and setting the course of LEGO™ for the next century. Since 1949, LEGO™ has been made of plastic and continued developments to these seemingly simple building blocks, have kept LEGO™ a world-leader in toys.
You can read more about their products on the LEGO website. (http://www.lego.com/en-us/default.aspx) Though they don’t have regular tours of the factory at Billund, you can arrange for visits for groups and special guests. (http://aboutus.lego.com/en-us/lego-group/programs-and-visits/)
In 1968 the doors opened on LEGOLAND, (insert GuideDK link) the theme park built entirely of LEGO. Located in Billund, the park’s favourite attractions include the mini models of famous buildings and sites from around the world. LEGOLAND has itself spread across the world and you can now visit LEGOLANDs in Europe, North America, Asia and the Middle East. But the original at LEGO’s home still draws millions of visitors each year.
Other successful Danish toys
Kay Bojesen was a toy-maker who trained with Georg Jensen. In 1922, he won his first competition for his wooden toys. His most famous pieces remain Danish classics, namely his wooden guards and from 1951, his wooden monkey. Adults collect these items but they are also cherished by children. You can buy Bojesen’s toys from Rosendahl. (http://www.kaybojesen-denmark.dk/) Another Danish company bringing joy to children around the world through its unique designs is Kompan. (http://www.kompan.co.uk/) Children in many countries worldwide enjoy this company’s colourful playgrounds, which they’ve been making since sculptor Tom Lindhardt Wills noticed his sculptures in urban areas were being climbed on rather than looked at. For 40 years since then, he has devoted his artistic talents to producing sculptural playgrounds through his company, Kompan.