Saturday, 17 July 2021

kristinehamn a few kilometers to the city on the shore of Lake Vรคnern—the larger of the two and biggest in all of the European Union, third on the continent, we marveled at the Brick Gothic Kristinehamns kyrka opened in 1858 and informed by a similar construction boom after the Wiesbaden school to my mind. On the lakefront preceding the harbor, there is a monumental sculpture from Pablo Picasso looking into the blue expanse, the fifteen meter high pillar the artist‘s largest and part of a series called „les dames des Mougins.“ Not overseeing the construction in person, the location of the installation was reportedly a contest between Sweden and Norway, with the latter ultimately conceding. Just outside of town in a meadow of daisies and guarded by a flock of sheep stands the Jรคrsberg Runestone, a bit less verbose than the previous, the inscription is one of the oldest known. Essentially „I made a thing,“ the writing is translated as „Leubaz I am called…I, the earl, write the runes.“

Tuesday, 6 July 2021


snuck out in the middle of the night: The Onion forecasted the West’s hasty departure from Afghanistan a decade ago 

fjรถgurra daga vinnuviku: a pilot experiment reducing what’s defined as full-time a stupendous success in Iceland  

nine seasons: geniuses from the Hood Internet (see previously) remixed the Seinfeld theme with a hit song from every year it aired 

carriage shift: a LEGO typewriter inspired by the model of the toy’s creator  

subrident: a story told with some edifying vocabulary words  

15-minute cities: natural language map queries 

low-level pokemon, normally easily defeated, stuck guarding locations, perhaps indefinitely: augmented reality sites abandoned at Bagram Airbase

Thursday, 6 May 2021

mary celeste

Spotted first by Present /&/ Correct, we quite enjoyed contemplating these compositions by artist Jan van Schaik in his Lost Tablets series which explores the vacillation between the familiar and grounded feeling of children’s toy blocks and the untethered nature of architectural vernacular. The cut-up grammar of building elements out of place, to-be-placed reminded us of these model frames sculptures yet unsprued. The pictured piece is called the Sea Bird, all named for ships found abandoned and adrift. More at the links above.

Monday, 11 January 2021

logic gates

Via Pasa Bon! we are presented with an educational toy in the form of a mechanical computer invented and marketed in 1965 by John “Jack” Thomas Godfrey called the Digi-Comp II that used marbles rolling down an incline through customisable, programmable interventions, like a pinball game (Flipperkast) or pachinko to teach coding. These basic calculations were accomplished—less kinetically—on the predecessor game with gears and latch circuits as a demonstration of binary logic. Much more to explore at the link up top including a giant model and a Lego version of the visual calculator.

Saturday, 9 January 2021


zip-tie guy: as bad as this act of terrorism was, the Ku Klux Coup (see previously) could have turned out much worse  

election, objection, ambition, sedition: another pitch-perfect Randy Rainbow political parody 

regrets only: Trump’s final missive confirming he would not be attending Joe Biden’s inauguration—cornerstone to a peaceful transition of power—is interpreted as another way of casting aspersions on a legitimate election and gets his account suspended from Twitter—permanently  

privilege check: race and the cos-play veneer of the invasion combined with remorse over more heavy-handed tactics over the summer allowed them to organise and launch their raid unchecked—see previously  

us capitol police: encomnia for officer killed protecting senators and congress members from the Blue Lives Matter crowd  

jericho march: more Cos-Play with Evangelical Christians (previously) rallying in D.C. blowing shofars

no pension, no secret security detail, no travel allowance, no chance to hold high office again: a second impeachment has consequences even a few days out and Congress is moving swiftly to make it happen, nearly as fast as Mr Rainbow above or Lego

Saturday, 19 December 2020


mercury rising: surveying the lasting damage that the hottest year on record has brought  

guardians of the galaxy: Space Force (previously) service members receive a new title  

deluxe apartment in the sky: artist granted viewing of exclusive properties on Billionaires’ Row in Manhattan 

lp: a playlist of James Baldwin’s record collection  

๐ŸŒŠ: the Great Wave off Kanagawa in Lego form 

 lassen sie mich also sagen, dass dies ernst ist—bitte nehmen sie das auch ernst: Angela Merkel’s March address and appeal on coronavirus lauded as Speech of the Year 

 heat gap: climatic gentrification across city districts leads to worse outcomes for the poorest residents

Tuesday, 17 November 2020


for ages eighteen plus: adult content next door 

cph-รธ1: Copenhagen harbour floating parkipelago gets its first module  

dapper duds: older dogs dressed as senior human citizens to encourage adoption 

holes and slices: the Swiss cheese model risk management and loss prevention  

coandฤƒ effect: a drone stays aloft by taking advantage of the fluid dynamic tendency to stay attached to a convex surface—a principle used in hovercraft, the Avrocar, NOTARs, windshield cleaners, mitral regurgitators and ventilators  

for ages six and up: small bricks present a choking hazard

Monday, 31 August 2020

toy cabin construction

Among many other events of great pith and circumstance that share this anniversary, as our faithful chronicler informs, John Lloyd Wright—son of the famed architect—was issued a patent (see also) for what would become Lincoln Logs on this day in 1920. The inspiration for the interlocking design was based the beams of the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, created by his father, to sustain an earthquake—which it did in 1923 Great Kanto seismic event (1 September) that levelled much of the city.

Sunday, 3 May 2020

once upon a virus

Though much like Fox News in the United States, the state-owned Xinhua news agency has been accused of being an instrument of propaganda in the past, but this particular timeline of the Corona Virus pandemic as told, schooled in the medium of Lego with the air of a fairy tale, does not require much spin or hyperbole—especially compared with Trump’s constant, increasingly desperate and far-fetched claims that it came from a laboratory in Wuhan, fatally inadequate countermeasures on the part of the American federal government that have collapsed into riot and terrorism or his suggestion that the disease might be treated by ingesting bleach and other under the kitchen counter cleaning materials.

Sunday, 5 April 2020

crinkle crankle

Despite their far older heritage, first attested to Dutch engineers that helped drain marshlands in The Fens in the 1600s—whom referred to the retaining walls as slangenmuur, snake walls—it was not until the eighteenth century that the vernacular brick architecture (see previously) received this common designation, which sounds fairly Dutch itself too for its reduplicative derivation.
For all the apparent fussiness and ornamentation of the construction, this serpentine arrangement is a highly economical one since long expanses can be covered using a single layer of bricks, whereas one that proceeded in a straight line without any curving buttresses would be far weaker and easily topple. As garden enclosures, most crinkle crankle walls were aligned east-west in order to capture the rising and setting sun (see also) for home orchards. Learn more with TYWKIWDBI at the link above.

Monday, 9 March 2020

n&b block

Previously we’ve explored Nintendo’s business enterprises prior to video games but didn’t know about their foray into toy building blocks to compete with LEGO bricks until encountering this range of construction sets. Designed to be compatible and complementary with the Danish original, N&B blocks (courtesy of Present / & / Correct, produced from 1968 to 1972) though unlicensed were not a simple counterfeit and offered several unique kits and accessories.

Monday, 2 March 2020


A Edinburgh firm called Kenoteq in collaboration with the city’s university is taking on the dirty business of construction by reclaiming materials that would otherwise end up in landfills and reconstituting the building blocks (see previously) without firing them in a kiln—making the process even more sustainable and environmentally friendly. Moreover the basic units can be created in situ from the salvaged material—saving on pollution caused by transportation.


Saturday, 4 January 2020

opus isodomum

Our gratitude once again to Present /&/ Correct for expanding our brick-and-mortar (see also) repertoire with this mediative volume by Melissa Price that looks at some of the chief stylistic and structural organising and coordinating principles behind this construction method, brick-bonding.
The most common types being Flemish, Monk, and Sussex it follows the notion that courses (the horizontal layers) should not be uniform straight across and changes the orientation of the masonry according to a set pattern for better load-bearing and aesthetic qualities. From the builder’s perspective, the brick has six positions depending how they’re turned and facing edge: stretcher, shiner, header, rowlock, soldier and sailor, which in tied and trusted patterns strengthen the ties with rows above and below.

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

course and wythe

One of the more viable indigenous, constructed scripts (see also here and here), the Atlas of Endangered Alphabets profiles the Mandombe system of writing, revealed to its author by a venerated Congolese religious leader in a dream, recognising the sacred serpentine turns along the familiar backdrop of a brick wall.
Inspired, glyphs were developed whose pronunciation and inflection was determined on direction and orientation and is suited for the national languages of the country, with more efforts underway to transcribe neighbouring languages into Mandombe, and is taught in parochial schools affiliated with the church that conceived it in the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola as well as in France and Belgium.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

opus latericium

Material science students in Cape Town have developed a process that forms a durable, pliable building substance out of urea, sand and a strain of bacteria that metabolises urine into calcium carbonate that cements the loose sand to fit a given mould.
Not only would construction sites draw in and sequester atmospheric carbon during the growing phase, reinforcing the sands with limestone matrices, the reaction that produces the bricks, pillars and cobblestones happens at ambient temperature and doesn’t need to be fired in a kiln—another potentially huge benefit as the cement and concrete industry contributes a huge volume of greenhouse gases.

Friday, 31 August 2018

type 57

Last week, we were taken for a test drive in a porcelain Bugatti called L’Or Blanc (White Gold) and now we are given a demonstration of another fully-functional Bugatti model—a Chiron supercar—that was almost entirely built from LEGO Technics pieces, over a million assembled by hand.
The car is a legacy brand first founded by Ettore Bugatti in the city of Molsheim in 1909 that produced a line of high performance luxury and racing automobiles through the 1950s when the company went bankrupt and the factory acquisitioned for the aviation industry. Bugatti saw a comeback in the 1990s when the name and distinctive chassis style saw a revival, with Volkswagen engineering the Chiron, two-seated sports car, which was revealed for the first time at the Geneva Motor Show in 2016. See footage of both cars in action at the links above.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018


never just a car: a supercut of automotive movie cameos

blue state: an exhibit in Los Angles structured around colour examines the many ways of casting shade

india pale ale: find out what which beer you’re partial to says about you, via the ever-brilliant Nag on the Lake

le bรฉton brรปt: with greyscale Lego bricks, a man and his son create miniature Brutalists architecture, via Present /&/ Correct

paleo-futures: 1926 interview with Nikola Tesla predicting our fraught relationship with our gadgets

midsweden 365: secret tunnels excavated in the granite mountains near the town of Gรคllรถ repurposed as a underground, year-round skiing range

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

toy building brick

A couple days ago, the world marked International LEGO Day, inscribed on the calendar on the date when Godtfred Kirk Christiansen filed the American patent application for his product sixty years ago. GK Christiansen was the third son of the inventor and founder Ole Kirk Christiansen who began making wooden toys in his workshop in Billund, Denmark in 1932—before moving to plastic as a medium—and was the managing director of the company from 1950 to 1995. The company’s name and line of construction toys is from the Danish words leg godt—“play well.”

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

brick and mortar

Via the Daily Dot, we discover that Lego- compatible adhesive tape is on offer for pre-order and will be ready to ship sometime this summer, having far surpassed their original fund-raising goal multiple times over. Brilliantly any surface can be made Lego-friendly, enhancing building possibilities and seems to us a far better alternative to modifying and replacing components than some boring old 3D printer. Founded in 1934 in Denmark, the company’s name is a play on the Danish phrase leg godt—“play well.”

Sunday, 7 February 2016

seven points of articulation

Via the superb Dangerous Minds comes a look at the creations of one Etsy artisan, Glinda the Geek, and her adorable and necessary contribution to the universe of LEGO minfigs with the addition of characters from the British comedies The Young Ones and Absolutely Fabulous (plus many more at the artist’s stand).
I think that branching out is always laudable as sometimes I find the whole mainstream franchise a little grating as it seems to be only capitalising on some other popular movement and the tie-ins usually mean that one can only every play-out one very specific adventure (although the standard-issue repertoire of building-blocks can create pretty inspired tableaux as well)—as opposed to Sigmund Freud’s consulting-couch, also on offer from Glinda the Geek.