By Antonio Malara
For my first architectural lego, I wanted something that would develop vertically, not as a matter of aesthetics but of space. As I buy lego, in fact, the problem arises of where to exhibit these objects with a particular design. Initially, the choice fell on the Empire State Building but both on the site and in the Palermo store there was no availability of this product. Luckily the "second" choice was available and so, always staying in New York, I took the Statue of Liberty. The idea of building a monument that I have already seen has a different meaning, it is like a tribute to a place I visited and that struck me. The Statue of Liberty is a symbol not only of freedom as its name implies, but it identifies a city, a nation and even beyond the dream and hope of a people. In fact, in New York, began the life of the emigrants who saw in the new continent the hope of a new life.
I have visited the Statue of Liberty twice, the last time in 2009 and the tour is a small trip that leads to first visit Ellis Island (where in reality the emigrants arrived by ships and were inspected) and then the islet where there is the statue. Both times I skipped the visit to Ellis Island, partly due to lack of time and partly because I always have a reason to return. However, the area around the Statue has always fascinated me, besides the various perspectives they have on the monument, from there there is also a spectacular view of both Manhattan and the Verrazano Bridge. Moreover, walking in that area is very relaxing, it has always given me the idea of walking in the middle of a park but with a different nature and soul.
I was therefore very motivated to assemble this object with a profound meaning which in the lego version takes on a different personality while respecting the reality of the structure. The Statue of Liberty is famous for its expressionless face, a thing of timeless charm, however the lego version had a completely flat face. Looking at the product, this detail was the only one that caused me some doubts, before mounting it I was afraid that this detail could in a certain way ruin a very beautiful object.
Inside the package, in addition to the instruction booklet, there were ten envelopes divided into five steps. Each step had two envelopes and inside the large one, another smaller one, this means that for each stage of the assembly there were three envelopes. In addition to what I have indicated, there also were three red sticks inside. The assembly steps involved the construction of the base in the first three phases and the part of the statue in the last two. Also for this lego I respected the order given by the instructions and I assembled the statue in five days. In the first three phases the steps were about twenty for each day, so not many and in fact the average time I took was about forty minutes a day. The base assembly basically featured many identical parts that had to be assembled four times. However, this process was not boring and on the contrary I noticed that once I mounted a first turret for example, I was able to assemble the others without looking at the instructions. In the first three days there was nothing particularly difficult; in step 12 for example, I had to be careful to put bricks with two different threads, the one with the more complex designs went outside to simulate the wall, the same thing was present in step 18. Later I noticed that the base always followed the symmetrical figure, however there was some part that was offset but then with the final bricks the design returned symmetrical. The only minor mistake I made during the first three days, I made it in step 41, there I realized that I had assembled blue and red bricks of the same size, not respecting the color. There I had assembled in step 35 however being internal and separated from the external structure, I restored there with ease. In any case, even if I had mounted them with inverted color, nothing would have changed. The last two days I assembled the part of the real statue, there the steps were much more, however a lot of them were composed only by the assembly of very few pieces. The work of the last two days has been mostly to clad the central column, almost always using the same type of brick. Only in the final stages I mounted the torch, the head and the tablet.
Surely this lego has two totally different souls. I noticed that as long as there was a symmetrical structure, such as the base of the statue, the assembly was characterized by identical phases repeated several times. The column and the covering of the actual statue, on the other hand, was a more laborious phase. Probably without realizing it, I assembled one of the most singular and articulated legos, compared to other structures, such as a skyscraper that always follows the same shape. Of course this is what I hypothesize but I’ll be sure about it only when I’ll assemble another lego of architecture. A singular thing that I noticed instead, has nothing to do with lego but concerns the real structure. Mounting the base I noticed the many details of the balcony that goes all around. Live and even looking at my photos I never gave value to that detail that for some reason has always escaped me. I remember, for example, that I was struck by the people walking on the torch but I never paid attention to the balcony. While I was assembling the lego I had an incredible curiosity about that part of the structure, a real desire to go back to see it and above all, to concentrate on that part. I could think of everything except that the lego of the Statue of Liberty could point out to me a detail that I naively overlooked when I saw it live. For the rest, once assembled, the statue confirms the beauty and originality common to every lego. The interpretation of details using bricks is something that never ceases to fascinate me, unfortunately my doubt about the face was concrete. To be honest it's the only thing I don't like and they could have done better, the completely flat face doesn't have the same charm as the "faceless expression".
Pictures: Antonio Malara