When ILUGNY was going to do a train layout at BrickFair this year, I wanted to create a new building for it. I have been inspired by the designs by Apple for a long time, so I decided my contribution to the layout would be an Apple Store in the modular format that the buildings in the layout adhere to.
Modular buildings are a standard that started when LEGO created a series of buildings in 2007. Adult fans of LEGO created a standard based on the The LEGO Group’s buildings, which set widths for the buildings and sidewalks. In the case of the Apple Store, the building has a 32 x 32 footprint including the sidewalks. Since the store is a corner building, the sidewalk is on two sides and has a width of five studs each. Since the building is white, I started with darker tiles and lightened it as it got closer to the store.
One question I was asked quite a few times was which Apple Store I based my design on. Due to the size and scale of the store I was building, I didn’t base it on any particular store, but thematically based it on the stores and took the design elements from a few stores that I have visited. Modular buildings tend to have multiple levels and often are able to remove the floors to expose the insides, so I made my store two floors, the first containing the iPads and MacBooks and the second floor with the iPhones and Genius Bar. The stairs between the two are made of clear bricks with translucent blue plates that extend wider than the clear bricks in order to give them a floating appearance.
The outside of the store was inspired by the liberal use of glass in the facades of the regular Apple Stores. The 14th Street Apple store is a three story building on a corner and has a warehouse look with large windows, giving me the main inspiration for my store. With the Apple love for clean design, I made it white with clear windows, which made it stand out amongst the darker colored buildings around it.
With the building design laid out, I needed to populate it. The tables to hold the MacBooks, iPhones and iPads were made tan to look similar to the wooden tables in the actual stores. The iPads and iPhones were put on click hinges that were connected upside down to allow them them to be displaced at an acute angle to give the appearance of stands for the devices. The Genius Bar was built out of white bricks with gray tiles on top. The floors were covered in white tiles, except where the tables and minifigures were placed. White plates were put in those places to firmly hold everything in place, and the LEGO clutch was strong enough to even hold them in place during transport.
The Apple Store was displayed at BrickFair in the ILUGNY display, across the street from Stark Tower. The building was well received then brought out again for a launch party for my book. At the book party, people were able to get up close and see the details that could not be seen in the middle of the city layout that it was part of. It was also there that a picture was taken by Scott Beale, who put it on his Laughing Squid blog, and other websites picked up from him.
Although I am not normally someone who normally builds buildings, the display inspired me to create my first modular building. It was an interesting experience and perhaps something I may do again in the future. In the meantime, I look forward to continuing to be inspired to create and help enhance the ILUGNY displays.