Arnaud Gaudillat, a historical past instructor in France, recalled bursting into tears as he watched tv protection of flames tearing by the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in 2019. “We couldn’t do something however simply watch it burn,” he mentioned.

Now, 5 years later, as lots of of architects, engineers and metalworkers race to finish rebuilding the cathedral’s roof coverings and electrical cabling by the tip of the 12 months, Mr. Gaudillat is not going to be sitting on the sidelines. He shall be developing his personal Notre-Dame. One made out of 4,383 Lego pieces.

Lego, the most important toy firm on this planet, on Saturday launched a mannequin of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, full with rose home windows, bell towers and a central spire surrounded by statues. The set, designed for adults, shall be a part of the corporate’s assortment of units based mostly on architectural feats, together with Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater and his Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

“I simply wish to have this stunning factor in my home,” Mr. Gaudillat, 25, mentioned of the Notre-Dame set. He began constructing intricate Lego units a couple of years in the past and have become hooked.

The Danish toy firm is finest identified for its colourful play units for kids, together with its best-selling animal units, prepare units and Harry Potter-themed units. However since 2020, when Lego began a brand new class of toys marketed for folks ages 18 and over, the corporate has doubled the dimensions of its vary focusing on adults. About 20 % of the corporate’s units on the market are supposed for grownup followers of Legos, often called AFOLs.

The Notre-Dame set, which sells for $229.99, is gaining consideration for its design and since it’s the first spiritual construction that the corporate has launched in 67 years, in keeping with Lego’s official historian.

Thomas Lajon, a screenwriter and director in Paris, mentioned he wished to purchase the Lego Notre-Dame due to how necessary the true cathedral, a jewel of medieval Gothic structure, is to him.

“It’s a second to reconnect with the cathedral by going there or rebuilding it with Lego bricks,” mentioned Mr. Lajon, 28, who designed the Orient Specific Lego mannequin by a company program that solicits design ideas from fan bases.

Building of the (actual) Cathedral of Notre-Dame started in 1163, through the reign of King Louis VII, and was accomplished in 1345. In the course of the French Revolution within the 1790s, a mob decapitated statues of kings at Notre-Dame, and the cathedral fell right into a state of disrepair.

Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel, “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame,” highlighted the state of the cathedral and spurred momentum for its renovation, which occurred from 1844 to 1864. The architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc designed and added a spire.

Genevieve Capa Cruz, the top of product for adults on the Lego Group, mentioned in an interview that the corporate’s base of grownup Lego followers had grown over latest years, notably amongst what she described as adults with high-pressure jobs who see constructing Legos as a strategy to unwind.

The corporate is attempting to reframe enjoying with Legos as “a professional leisure-time exercise” for adults, she mentioned. “The identical approach you’d make investments money and time in making ceramic bowls.”

Themes that resonate with adults embrace structure, flowers and flicks, such “The Lord of the Rings” and “Star Wars,” she mentioned. Grownup Lego followers are necessary for the corporate not solely as a result of their units are dearer — the Star Wars Millennium Falcon model costs $850 — however as a result of they have a tendency to additionally purchase Lego items for kids, she mentioned.

Lego reported a 4 % enhance in gross sales final 12 months, at the same time as different toy corporations like Mattel and Hasbro noticed a decline. Towards that backdrop, Lego plans to open at the least 100 extra shops within the subsequent 10 months, Chief Govt Niels B. Christiansen mentioned in an interview with Yahoo Finance.

Sonia Hudson, an intensive care physician at a hospital outdoors London, mentioned she plans on shopping for two of the Notre-Dame Lego units. She’ll construct one to show in her lounge, and the opposite she’ll purchase for its bricks, so as to add to her assortment of about 500,000, which she makes use of to create her personal designs.

“I don’t see Lego as a toy,” mentioned Dr. Hudson, 50. “I see it as a constructing medium. I may construct with wooden, I may construct with clay, but when I received it incorrect I’d have to begin yet again.”

Rok Zgalin Kobe, the Lego designer who created the Notre-Dame set, mentioned he designed the cathedral in order that customers must assemble it in the identical phases through which the true cathedral was constructed, somewhat than from the underside up, tracing practically 900 years of historical past.

“When you full it, you possibly can really look by the entrance door,” he mentioned. “You get the sense of the house, the sense of splendor that comes with it.”

The method of designing the set concerned experimentation, requiring day by day journeys to a room throughout the firm’s headquarters in Billund, Denmark, that incorporates variations of all Lego bricks out there for creating new initiatives.

Like Ms. Hudson, the physician who makes use of Legos to unwind, Gordon Finlay, 62, picked Legos again up once more after not enjoying with them for a protracted stretch. He and different Lego followers consult with that interval, between when folks cease enjoying with Legos as kids and once they rediscover them as adults, as “the darkish age.”

Mr. Finlay, who lives outdoors Glasgow, mentioned he plans to construct Lego’s Notre-Dame subsequent month, simply earlier than 15 million vacationers are anticipated to go to Paris for the Olympics.


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