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LEGO Bridge Brightens Industrial Town

Friday, July 13, 2012

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Taking LEGO’s creed (“Play Well”) to heart, a German painter has brightened a dingy concrete city overpass with a colorful jumbo representation of the world’s best-loved building bricks.

 Megx

 Project photos: Megx. Reprinted with permission.

German artist Megx (left) spent four weeks painting the bridge, with support from local companies, nonprofits and officials.

Viewed from below, the paint scheme makes it look as if the overpass is constructed of giant LEGOs. Artist Martin Heuwold, 35, who uses the name Megx, said in an email that the design was his wife’s idea. But it quickly captivated everyone in his home town of Wuppertal, a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.

Although the city of 350,000 is a longtime major industrial center (Bayer invented aspirin there), two-thirds of the total municipal area is green space and historical buildings abound.

 From blah to brilliant: Wuppertal, Germany, now sports a larger-than-life tribute to the LEGO.
 From blah to brilliant: Wuppertal, Germany, now sports a larger-than-life tribute to the LEGO.

One area that wasn’t so picturesque, however, was a plain concrete bridge singled out by Megx for a remarkable facelift.

Public Canvas

For Megx, the idea was a natural. The Wuppertal resident is a veteran graffiti artist whose portfolio reflects his passion for the canvas of a vast public space. He has beautified public toilets, a zoo, a youth facility, a fish shop, a public square, and entire sides of old buildings, among other surfaces.

The bridge project drew widespread support citywide.

A local supermarket and shoe store offered sponsorship. A civic beautification group, Wuppertal movement eV, helped coordinate and supervise construction.

 Wikimedia Commons / Christoph Rückert

 Wikimedia Commons / Christoph Rückert

Located east of Düsseldorf, Wuppertal is known for its steep slopes, woods and parks, suspension railway, and thousands of buildings classified as national monuments.

Wichernhaus, a nonprofit that works with youths and families, helped prepare the substrate and worked to ensure safe operation of the equipment. City authorities zipped through approvals. A local design firm, evolution industrial design, helped with the planning.

And Megx painted. For four weeks. More than 2,700 square feet.

The result was a bright, bigger-than-life valentine to the world-famous LEGO brick, created in Denmark in 1932.

It’s a fitting tribute to the humble plastic brick that has twice been named “Toy of the Century.” As LEGO (a combination of two Danish words that mean “play well”) says on its site:  “It's just a matter of getting the imagination going—and letting a wealth of creative ideas emerge through play.”

   

Tagged categories: Artists; Bridges; Concrete

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