Sean Kenney: Art with LEGO bricks
Eiffel tower     ‹ Back to portfolio
Eiffel-tower LEGO art by Sean Kenney
32" x 34" x 87"        67,470 LEGO elements.        Completed July 10, 2015

This 7.25 foot (2.2 meter)  tall scale model of The Eiffel Tower contains 67,470 LEGO pieces, and took two months to design and build.  You can see the sculpture in person every Bastille Day at Brookfield Place, located in New York City’s World Financial Center.

 

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Looking down from the first pavilion

 

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Looking directly up from the center at ground level

 

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The first pavilion has buildings, some of which are two stories tall inside.  The structural masts, behind the “X” beam patterns have little elevator cars at various heights.

 

 

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The second pavilion has two levels connected by yellow spiral staircases.  The elevator’s bright red and bright yellow flywheels are located behind the “X” patterns on the main masts.  (Click to enlarge for a better view)

 

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The observation deck has all kinds of cool cell transmitters, radio towers, radar dishes and other modern encrustations.

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Down on the ground, a flurry of visitors await entry while tour buses line up at the East Tower and a pedicab waits by the crosswalk.

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It’s a long wait to go up.  While you’re here, enjoy the view from below!

 

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Parisian police

 

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Pedicab

 

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The long wait…

 

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And of course, there’s a mime.

 

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Folks line up for snacks at the refreshment kiosks (left).  And look!  It’s the Blue Man Group! (right)

 

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America’s favorite family, The Simpsons, have made it to Paris.

 

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Building so many diagonal shapes is tricky with LEGO pieces, but it’s even harder when the whole thing needs to be hollow.  It was important to me for you to be able to see straight through the tower, the way you can in real life.

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Building it

The model took two months to design and build together with my assistants Evan and Natsuki.  I spent the first two weeks shaking my fist in the air yelling ”GUSTAV!” (convinced that Gustav Eiffel was a crazy lunatic) and the last two weeks shaking my head convinced he was a crazy genius.

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LEGO pieces are good at building straight lines, but there is not a straight line anywhere in this structure.  The “X” patterns and beams and struts all sit on angles and diagonals, which is very complicated to do with LEGO pieces.  I built a lot of prototypes, drew a lot of drawings, and worked from a lot of photographs until I finally had a plan.

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The drawing at the bottom of this photo (above) was our main diagram for computing the dimensions of each section of the tower.  I realized early on that there were a lot of recurring patterns in the shape of the tower, so I could build a prototype of each section, mark it on the drawing, and then have my assistants build the final multiple glued copes of each prototype (below).

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Evan and Natsuki discuss mathy dimensions.

 

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Natsuki and I discuss the details of some of the ornamentation, unaware that a Polar Bear and a Snow Leopard are sneaking up to eat us.

 

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Crazy LEGO math makes me laugh!  Ha Ha Ha!

 

 

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I love that you can see the light through the lattice work!

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