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Lego Master creates with Sandvik

What do a bird, a guitar and a statue share in common? In addition to representing recent Sandvik branding campaigns, each one has now been meticulously designed, piece by Lego piece, by a Lego Master.

Download the Lego instructions

It took a while for pharmacist Emma Friman Browne to finally capitulate to her Lego® passion. The self-proclaimed “nerd,” whose other interests include comic books, science fiction stories and horror films, kept finding excuses to peruse the Lego toy shelves, telling herself she would give it to her sister’s kids.

But the truth was, she wanted Lego for herself.

Fortunately, Friman Browne stumbled over the Swebrick community, some 1,500 Swedish adults who share Lego as a hobby. This discovery, about 10 years ago, gave her the legitimacy – and confidence she needed to purchase Lego sets to satisfy both the creative outlet and need for relaxation she had been searching for.

Embracing the Lego lifestyle

“I thought to myself, ‘maybe it’s not so weird’,” says Friman Browne, adding that building Lego as an adult is more acceptable today, especially since the pandemic. “Being a nerd has been normalized,” she says with a laugh.

Her very first creation was a “fairly basic” house, which she entered into a local competition. That got the ball rolling to construct all kinds of Lego structures and scenes, both on her own and working with others, including Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, a Japanese temple and garden, and a “Mad Max-like zombie apocalyptic” setting.

Crafting imaginative worlds

“The apocalyptic scene required specific pieces and I spent a lot of time searching for Lego in beige and other muted colors for the desert landscape,” she says, adding it’s not a color typically associated with bold and cheerful Lego.

Much of Friman Browne’s inspiration comes from buildings, and her latest project is a replica of the large pink train station in her hometown of Storvik, Sweden. Building the 150 centimeter-long Lego station requires thousands of pink pieces – and it is her biggest project to date.

From pharmacy to Lego engineering

This dream project was made possible thanks to winning the Swedish Lego Masters TV competition in 2022. The prize gave her the opportunity to order Lego pieces of her choice for free. It all added up to many pink bricks and the delivery of 44 boxes, weighing approximately 750 kilos to her apartment. She has since moved her bed into the living room to devote her former bedroom to Lego.

After winning the TV competition together with fellow Lego-builder, Dr. Andreas Lenander, customers at the pharmacy began recognizing her and approaching her to discuss Lego. “It’s all enjoyable and fun,” Friman Browne says, clearly pleased that her day job gives her an outlet to meet all kinds of fans too.

Collaborating with Sandvik

It was after participating at First Lego League for children and youth, where Sandvik is a sponsor, that brainstorming began for yet another Lego project – this time in collaboration with Sandvik.

It resulted in Friman Browne designing, illustrating, and writing instructions for three Lego structures: A canary bird (Bird in the Mine), a guitar (the Smashproof Guitar) and a statue (the Impossible Statue). Each one is based on a previous Sandvik branding campaign.

I was thrilled when Sandvik approached me. I hadn’t done this scale of project before or worked for a company and it was a good challenge and learning experience.

"It’s good to have a deadline and produce something someone else has requested as it forces you to try new things and evolve your skillset,” says Friman Browne.

Working both manually, and digitally with BrickLink Studio 3D modeling software, she began the challenge with the easiest Lego structure: the bird. However, designing for others was trickier than she envisaged.

Mastering the art of Lego construction

“Usually, my builds are fragile, but I had to make these sturdy so as not to fall apart and that was a challenge,” she says. “I tried different poses with the bird and couldn’t get it right until the third try. There was a lot of trial and error with the guitar too, but the beauty of Lego is that it’s a process where you just rebuild and it’s a material you can reuse.”

The statue, with its asymmetrical shapes and different angles, was the most difficult to design and will be the master challenge for people to build, she says.

Inspiring future engineers

All of her instructions, with step-by-step illustrations, are available on social media and at the bottom of this page. “Find a way to finish even if you can’t find a part,” she advises. “If you only find 80-90 percent of the parts, that’s okay, you can find something similar and switch out parts and colors.”

Finally, Friman Browne’s passion for Lego has come out from the shadows and she can share her interest with both adults and children.

Lego is more than a toy. It’s good for kids to follow instructions and get fine motor skills, which they’re losing today.

"It requires creativity and some math skills too. When you really get into it you realize how much design and mathematical formulas went into making these parts and patterns.”

In the meantime, this master builder is returning to her massive train project and there’s no shortage of future inspiration, she adds.

“I have thousands of different ideas of what I want to build.”

Piecing it together

Today’s Lego builders can be tomorrow’s engineers – or pharmacists, like Lego Master Emma Friman Browne, for example.

Recreating items from successful Sandvik campaigns challenges both children and adults to build with Lego by following her illustrated instructions. Don't be afraid to be creative and create your own version with your own colors and pieces!

Download Lego instructions