The LEGO Group has opened the doors of an immersive new LEGO Store in New York City, setting up shop in a two-storey location on Fifth Avenue as the first flagship store to feature new retail formats.
Elements of the innovative new store will be introduced to more than 100 stores worldwide in the coming year, the toy maker has stated, as it highlights a new format designed to ‘create an immersive world of LEGO bricks’ by blending digital and physical experiences.
The New York City flagship has been developed as part of the company’s strategy to innovate its stores in line with consumer demands for more personalised and interactive retail offerings, as well as recognition of the role that brick and mortar stores play in strengthening connections with the brand, despite the surge in online shopping.
Colette Burke, chief commercial officer at The LEGO Group, said: “For a number of years we’ve seen the trend towards people visiting stores for high-quality, entertaining brand experiences. Over the past year our fans have missed personal and tactile interactions with the brand and we can’t wait to welcome them back.”
The LEGO Group spent two years developing the new retail concept and researching what shoppers and children want from a LEGO store visit. They found that people were keen for more opportunities to play with bricks, participate in brick-inspired activities, personalise their experience and have fun.
As a result, LEGO has unveiled a suite of impactful features in the New York City Store, including an experience that immerses people and their LEGO builds in a virtual world. Called Brick Lab, the in-store technology brings walls, floors, and ceiling to life with light, sound, and music for an interactive build and play experience.
Meanwhile, an interactive Tree of Discovery is made from 880,000 LEGO elements and acts as the store’s centrepiece. It stands as ‘an expression of the LEGO Group’s commitment to being inclusive and having a positive impact on society and the planet.’
An interactive Storytelling Table has been designed with adult fans of LEGO in mind, enabling them to bring the stories behind sets available in store to life. It shows early product designs and prototypes, lifts the lid on the development process and allow fans to virtually ‘meet’ the LEGO designers.
The store’s Personalisation Studio invites visitors to make a memento of their visit. In it, they can reimagine themselves in LEGO form, either as a portrait from the Mosaic Maker or a Minifigure from the LEGO Minifigure Factory.
Elsewhere, with LEGO Expression, visitors can have fun with LEGO Minifigures who mimic their facial expressions, while the new Fifth Avenue store will also include larger than life builds of icons of the city, such as a taxicab to sit in, an Empire State Buyilding and One World Trade skyscraper, the lights and billboards of Broadway and Time Square, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes Thor, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Hulk, and Captain America, and the Ghostbusters Firehouse and crew.
The new store format has been designed to be flexible so that it can work in LEGO stores of all sizes, as well as in third-party retail partners’ stores. It will be introduced to over 100 LEGO stores around the world during the coming year, as well as select global partner retailers.
The LEGO Group currently has around 731 branded stores in 50 countries around the world and plans to open 120 new stores during 2021. In addition to investing in brick and mortar, the LEGO Group will continue to invest in building its e-commerce capabilities.
In 2020, the number of visitors to its LEGO.com online store doubled to a quarter of a billion and this growth has continued in 2021.
Colette said: “We’re seeing significant growth across e-commerce channels, but we also understand the distinct and important role that each of our retail channels plays in building the brand. We will continue to invest in innovating across all our channels to create compelling experiences online, in-store and with our retail partners.”
Check it out
The Brick Lab
Designed exclusively for LEGO flagship stores, the 20-minute themed experience uses innovative technology to bring walls, floors, and ceilings to life with interactive animated content, lighting, sound, and music to invite kids (and grown-ups) to play in a virtual world that plays right along with them.
Each visitor will have the opportunity to meet the characters on screen and let their imaginations run wild as they build their own creation, scan their build and then watch it become a living part of the Brick Lab in seconds so they can play both physically and virtually.
The Tree of Discovery
The tree, which took 1,900 hours to construct and is made of over 880,000 LEGO bricks, symbolises the LEGO Group’s commitment to having a positive impact on society and the planet.
A key feature is its bright rainbow trunk which houses a whole host of wonderful hidden details and secrets for shoppers to discover such as mini-scenes, kaleidoscopes and picture viewers from DUPLO, Technic and the LEGO System in Play bricks.
The Mosaic Maker
Which captures your image and creates your own personalized LEGO mosaic portrait in just a few minutes.
The LEGO Minifigure Factory
Allows you to design and create a unique LEGO Minifigure (complete with a brick with your name and a special box) – the perfect souvenir for your visit or gift for someone else.
Ever wanted a LEGO Minifigure to copy your every move? Well now you can with the magical LEGO Expressions. Simply stand in front of the screen and Lady Liberty and her NYC pals will copy every facial expression you make.
Exclusive NYC inspired LEGO models
Highlights include a talking Statue of Liberty Minifigure, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes such as Thor, Spiderman, Iron Man, Hulk and Captain America who’s standing on top of an iconic yellow NYC taxi cab, a New York cityscape, a wall featuring LEGO recreations of famous Broadway show and Movie LEGO posters, the Ghostbusters Firehouse featuring the full Ghostbusters crew, Stay-Puft Marshmellow Man and Slimer.