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06/24/2021

First Look: Lego ups the experiences in new NYC flagship

Marianne Wilson
Editor-in-Chief
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Lego has debuted a new retail format that immerses customers in the brand. It's the company's most experiential store to date. 

Located at Rockefeller Center in New York City, the two-story, 7,175-sq.-ft. flagship blends a dazzling array of digital and physical experiences designed to inspire creativity and imagination among kids and adults alike. The format has been designed to be modular and fully flexible so that it can work in Lego stores of all sizes and third-party retail partners’ stores. Elements will be added to more than 100 Lego stores worldwide in the coming year.

“While our existing store format has been very successful, we are evolving it to strengthen brand love and create memorable experiences people will talk about long after they leave,” said Colette Burke, chief commercial officer, Lego Group, which operates 7,731 stores globally. “We want people to walk into our stores and feel immersed in a world of Lego bricks.”

The Lego Group spent two years developing the new concept and researching what shoppers and children want from a visit to a Lego store. They found that people were keen for more opportunities to play with bricks, participate in brick-inspired activities and personalize their experience — and have fun.

The flagship delivers on all that and more. The walls are lined with products. Larger-than-life 3D Lego builds celebrating local culture and landmarks are located throughout the space, including a NYC taxi that visitors can sit in, the Empire State Building, One World Trade skyscraper and the lights and billboards of Broadway and Time Square. 

Additional larger-than-life Lego models include a talking Statue of Liberty minifigure and Marvel Super Heroes that include Thor, Spiderman, Iron Man, Hulk and Captain America. A wall features Lego recreations of famous Broadway show and movie posters. The Ghostbusters Firehouse, featuring the full Ghostbusters crew, is also recreated.

Lego product is integrated into the store's many experiences. The main attractions include “Brick Lab,” a 20-minute themed experience featuring innovative technology that brings walls, floors, and ceilings to life with interactive animated content, lighting, sound and music. Admission costs $15 (which covers one child and an accompanying adult) and can be booked in advance.

The experience allows kids aged 5+ (and grown-ups) to play with Lego bricks in a virtual world that plays along with them.  Each visitor will have the chance to meet the characters on screen and let their imaginations run wild as they build their own creation, scan their build and then watch it become a living part of the Brick Lab in seconds so they can play both physically and virtually.

There is also a personalization studio, where visitors can make a souvenir of their visit. They can reimagine themselves in Lego form either as a portrait (via a device called Mosaic Maker which captures the image and creates the portrait in minutes) or as their very own personalized mini-figure, complete with a brick with their name and a special box.

Other store attractions include the following.

• The “Tree of Discovery” is the centerpiece of the store. Stretching from floor to ceiling,  it’s made from 880,000 Lego bricks and is designed to reflect Lego’s commitment to having a positive impact on society and the planet. The tree has a bright rainbow trunk with carved-out hollows that house an array of hidden details for shoppers to discover.

• Designed for adult fans, an interactive “Storytelling Table” area brings to life the stories behind the Lego sets available in store. It shows early product designs and prototypes, lifts the lid on the development process and allow fans to virtually ‘meet’ the LEGO designers.

• With “Lego Expression,” visitors can stand in front of a screen and interact with LEGO minifigures who mimic their facial expressions.

• At a certain spot in the checkout line, customers can interact with the Lady Liberty minifigure on the screen. 

A combination of internal teams and external agencies, including Fitch, were involved in the design and implementation of the new Lego format, according to a company spokesperson.