For Christmas I gave each of my family members, amongst other treats, a Lego figurine that I had hand built to their individual likeness. It seemed to go down pretty well and got me thinking about the concept of family, in particular the reality of sustainable, functioning, nuclear family units in our modern age and ultimately led to research into the Lego corporation and how their corporate culture is built on the familiar familial foundation.
When constructing my figurines I was careful to respectfully select parts that suited each of my family member’s intricate personalities; whilst also keeping things lighthearted and inoffensive. It actually took me an extraordinarily lengthy amount of time to perfect these plastic people and the whole process made me realise how very little of my time is now spent with my family. With a potential international move on the cards for me in 2016, it felt strange to think that these people with whom I shared a daily evening meal for over 18 years had lives that had continued on completely different tangents to mine. Parallel existences, almost parallel worlds, until they all implode into one every Christmas for a yearly glee-filled gathering.
Simply, family, in my albeit lucky perspective, stands for reliability and respite. One can rely on one’s family (and this may not always be a blood-related family) to soothe the stresses of the world. That said, your family is often also there to question your life choices, rib you for errors you made decades ago and make jest of situations that are now funny; that most certainly were not at the time.
I recently watched a documentary on the company culture at Lego and came to some interesting, yet fully coincidental, parallels between my recent personal experience with Lego and what the company itself stands for. The Lego corporation pride themselves on their almost cult-like family culture. Once indoctrinated into the Lego family, employees becomes siblings, and the tight knit community evolves to include the new starter. It has been argued by many that company culture helps inform the construction of product and in Lego’s case it seems that the family culture has really helped, almost magically, enhance their product into an experience that can be shared by one and all, perhaps once first approached by the younger generation.
As I stood eagerly sweeping my hands through the colourful myriad of potential parts, with parents, children and teens pawing at the same plastic pile all around me, it seemed to resonate that the company that thrives on an internal communal family bond has created a truly family-centric product.
(Photos- Eli Woodbine, London, Copenhagen, 2016)