Ryan McNaught beside a Lego Arc de Triomphe.
Ryan McNaught beside a Lego Arc de Triomphe.

Everything is awesome as Lego lovers unite

LEGO sculptor Ryan "the brickman” McNaught is surprisingly philosophical about his team's massive models occasionally being knocked over.

In June, a child posing for a photo with another artist's sculpture pushed it over.

Zootopia character Nick Wilde, made of thousands of bricks, shattered on the hard ground of the Chinese shopping centre and the photo of the broken model quickly went viral online.

"We've had bigger and larger stuff fall over and make a bigger mess than that,” McNaught said.

"The good thing with Lego is it's quite zen, is the right term, in that it's what it's designed for. We can rebuild it. It's not like it's the end of the world.”

Lego lovers, for the first time, have a chance to see some of McNaught's big models (intact) such as the Statue of David in Florence, the French Arc de Triomphe and Russia's St Basil's Cathedral. The Lego expert and his team of seven have spent about 5000 hours building these famous landmarks out of the toy bricks.

The sculptures will be unveiled in an exhibition at the Brisbane Exhibition and Convention Centre later this month.

St Basil's Cathedral.

McNaught said choosing his favourite model from more than 50 featured in the show was like choosing a favourite child.

"I built a big Japanese castle, which is this big ornate castle, and it's got all these beautiful curves and slopes in it - things that Lego was never designed to do. I used to have a full head of hair before I started that one,” he said.

McNaught rediscovered his love for Lego when his twin sons, now aged nine, started playing with the bricks. He had stopped playing with Lego at the start of his teenage years.

The sculptor put his "dad hat” on and said there was an important education aspect to the Wonders of the World exhibit, but that making the learning fun was key to its success.

The exhibition is also interactive and visitors can build their own small models and add them to the bigger sculptures.

The Tower of Pisa, made from Lego bricks.

"A good example is that we have got the awesome, giant Statue of David and he is situated around a few hundred thousand white Lego bricks. People get to make statues of themselves and add them at the foot of David. They get to build, and be part of the art as well,” McNaught said.

The sculptor, now 43, started building Lego models for toy and department stores full-time in 2010. His favourite childhood memory of Lego was saving up for a year by delivering newspapers to buy a set.

"It was a castle-type thing. The day I bought that I was pretty chuffed. There's always that good feeling when you work hard and pay for something,” he said.

To complete the models on display, McNaught and his staff used only standard Lego bricks and colours.

"If you've got enough time, patience and money, you can build what we build too,” he said.

The models will be on show in Brisbane until December 14, before they go to their next destination. The move requires careful packing of the sculptures in purpose-built containers.


Lego founder Ole Kirk Christiansen started off making wooden toys in 1932.

The word Lego comes from the Danish word "leg godt” meaning "play well”

The plastic brick has twice been named Toy of the Century.

The Wonders of the World exhibition is on at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre from November 23-December 14.