Kids adore Lego, spending hours building entire worlds with the tiny plastic bricks. But to the consternation of parents around the globe, the toys can end up littering the entire home, their sharp edges hurting your feet whenever you stumble upon one. To provide a creative solution to this problem, Lego partnered with Ikea to create a storage system that doubles as a play structure.
The new storage solution, called Bygglek, is deceptively simple. The white boxes come in four sizes and are designed to store hundreds of bricks. The ingenious part is that their tops and interiors are covered in Lego studs, so they can easily be stacked or built upon. (It also makes it easy to move the entire structure.) “The box itself can be a house, a swimming pool, a sport arena, ” said Rasmus Buch Løgstrup, the Lego designer who spearheaded the project. “There is no right or wrong.”
Andreas Fredriksson, Ikea’s design lead, spent his childhood playing with the toys and still owns the bricks he had in the 1970s. In a press briefing, he said Lego play was reserved for the weekend, since it was so messy. “When I was a kid . . . we stored all of the bricks in a big blanket,” he said. “In the work with Bygglek, we talked about how you can play and pause without scattering your project all over the floor.”
The designers worked with child psychologists, who pointed out that children don’t necessarily see a pile of bricks on the floor as a mess; they see it as a creative environment and a series of projects in progress. This clashes with parents’ desire for order and organization. Løgstrup said their goal was to find a way to solve a problem for both parents and children. “If we can make a storage device that can be part of play, then we will succeed,” he said in the briefing.
The two big boxes will come in a traditional Ikea flat pack, but it’s designed to be so simple to assemble that 5-year-olds will be able to do it. The new line will be available in the U.S. in October; prices start at $9.99 for a set of three small boxes, and go to $14.99 for the largest box.
As part of this line, Ikea will also sell a 201-piece Lego brick set for $14.99. When curating the bricks for this set, the designers deliberately choose less complex Lego elements to ensure that even the youngest child could use them. They didn’t include building instructions—these pieces and the boxes they come in are designed to spur a child’s imagination. Given Ikea’s involvement, it makes sense these ideas are grounded in life at home: You can build a sofa, bed, or kitchen for the two Lego figures in the kit. There’s even a tiny banana and hot dog in there, in case they get hungry.