Thursday, March 26, 2009

Never mind the recession - Lego is now so popular that there are 62 little coloured blocks for every person on the planet.

Yet only five years ago this family business was on the brink of ruin. Jon Henley reports from the Danish town where it all began

Take a look at some of the greatest moments in Lego history
A lego model of artist Damien Hirst by The Little Artists.

A model of Damien Hirst by The Little Artists, just one sign that Lego is cool again, and not just for kids. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA

It's quite easy, wandering round the small town of Billund, to start believing in the existence of a Lego god. You can't help but feel a master intelligence is at work here - the place is so manifestly wholesome, the street plan so well ordered, the pavements so tidy. Unostentatious automobiles proceed slowly along all-but-empty roads, stopping politely for pedestrians nowhere near a zebra crossing. A jovial red-and-yellow Lego giant points towards the town centre; huge coloured bricks lie scattered as if awaiting deployment in some exemplary new civic amenity (except that, being Denmark, it's not immediately apparent what else the town might need).

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