Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Okay - Here it is.

Here is the interview with Jamie.

I guess the main question is the release date (I'm guessing its March?)

The release date is indeed currently set for early March.

AFsOL have been aware of The Green Grocers for some time. How long have you been working on it? (Was it hard to keep secret?)

Green Grocer was finished about the same time as Town Plan which was just before Easter of last year. I worked on both models for the first few months of 2007.

The first year I worked for LEGO, it was extremely difficult to not talk about all the cool stuff I was working on. Now that I’ve got a few products on the market, it’s a lot easier to keep quiet because I have other things to talk about. Actually, by the time some of the sets come out, it could be up to a year since I last worked on them. They almost seem like old news for me once they’re finally launched.

Was the idea to do a Green Grocers yours, or were you asked to use that title?

Green Grocer is the second of three models that I proposed when pitching the idea for the modular building system. However, I originally wanted to call it Green Gables, but our legal department advised against that.

Although I had a rough idea of what the model might look like, I only specifically knew that I wanted it to be sand green, with a fire escape and a bay window. Everything else fell into place during the development process.

I'm personally interested in the design process. What sort of research do you do? Will we get to see some prototype pictures in Brick Journal as we did for Cafe Corner?

We mostly use the internet for our initial research. However, we’ve also got our own in-house library where we’ll often rummage for good images and info. Specifically for the Green Grocer, I found some great reference material in a book we have about architecture in the San Francisco area.

I have not sent Joe over at BrickJournal any development pictures of the Green Grocer because there are a few building techniques that I used in the initial sketch that I am now using in another model I’m working on. It’s potentially good stuff, so I’d hate to ruin the surprise J

Are the pictures of a LEGO designer sitting on a carpeted floor with a pile of LEGO accurate or do you have a different design space?

It’s not that far off! We may not be building on the carpet, but I can assure you that there is plenty of LEGO spread all over my desk. On some of the bigger models like the UCS Millennium Falcon, we can move over to other areas of the building where we have more room to spread out.

On my desk, I have two monitors that make it easier for me when I virtually re-build the model in our 3-D modeling program. Once it’s virtual, I can do lots of cool things like duplicate middle floors to make large versions of the models. I did this when pitching the idea of the ultimate Café Corner, but I could only get a black and white version because my computer could hardly handle the size of the file!

Another cool thing about having a computer model, is that I can find out valuable information like prices, piece count, element availability, types of plastics used and other neat stuff. This helps me make sure my model is on budget and in line with our design briefs.


  1. Loved the interview! Thanks Jamie and Richard!

  2. Thanks for the responses. I'm eagerly awaiting GG release, and thrilled to hear that Jamie is already working on new models to continue the line!

    As the modular building line continues to mature, I wonder if Lego would be willing to publish Jamie's prototype designs that don't get selected for production (He mentions that Green Gables was 1 of 3 original designs). I know Lego has never done this before, but the AFOL consumers would see this as a value add (rather than take away from sales). In fact, pick-a-brick orders might even go up. So for every production set, there could be 1 or 2 designs available through Factory. These could be timed to fill the gaps in the release cycle, since it takes +/- 9 months for a production set, and that would keep interest in the line high. Anyway, just my 2 cents. Thanks again Jamie for the responses.

  3. Thanks, Jamie, thanks for your response and for creating such beautiful sets over there at TLC! I'm eagerly awaiting the Green Grocer. Just a couple of months ago your Café Corner got me out of my dark ages, and GG (and I hope its successors) will surely keep me into Lego forever. Can't wait 'till March :-) wow!

  4. Thanks for making this interview available. Love, love, love Jamie's work and adore this blog!

  5. Thanks charlain, that means a lot to us!

  6. Compliments for the blog, too, Roger. Failed to mention it.

  7. Great interview and love the blog as well. Thanks to Jamie for taking the time to answer the questions. Can't wait to see what's next in the line!

  8. im also a dedicated follower of this and many other blogs - i excuse me if this is the wrong place to ask - but im quite new to this online LEGO comm.
    BUT ! - why havent they made the modular building fit to the LEGO city plates/streets ? If they made 16x16 modules - full build - the compatability would increase in my oppinion. maybe i should know why - but i dont.
    otherwise i was very thrilled to read this interview - some inside and process knowlegde is great.

  9. Its a very good place to ask. You could even put the question to the designer himself.

    In my opinion, these models are streets ahead (no pun intended) of the usual city models. They are about intricate design and building techniques that encourage you to think outside the box (or brick). Many people who buy these models have developled thier own way of 'building' roads - either with tiles or sideways bricks. There are plenty examples on Brickshelf.

    On my layout I'm not going to worry about the roads too much. I might use dark grey paper - or paint the work surface road colour - and before everyone gasps, just look on the front of a box of LEGO - the roads are just a piece of airbrushed scenery.

    I hope they do not start to dumb down these models to make them fit.

    The debate continues...

  10. I agree with Brick Street - many builders these days build their own roads to their own specifications (cobblestones, tram rails, etc), or adapt the road plates (i.e. use the studs for either parking spaces or larger sidewalks - looks great!).

    These buildings are all about looking good, and (I think) push the boundaries of according-to-rules building techniques. This is what has made me a big fan of these buildings, and as I have recently noticed, made me look at and appreciate the architecture in cities when I was trying to look at what could be used in potential MOCs - I suddenly saw things and details I wouldn't have noticed before.

  11. Thank you for the interview Jamie & Richard, I really enjoyed reading it. Please keep posting!!

  12. We will start posting again this week.

  13. @freddie + brickstreet - thanks for the answers. It makes sense. But I think I will keep on converting them into 16x16 - I really like the orig.streets and I am working on a game(for personal use) wich is based on compatible modular building and orig.streets. I dont think the details go missing when slimming the buildings. But I have some new stuf on that late.
    Thank you very much for response and for this blog.
    best regards

  14. Available Feb. 22, S@H USA!

    check this out:



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