If there's anything to be learned from last month's record-breaking 105 feet-tall LEGO tower in Seoul, it's that LEGOs can, in fact, be used to build. Whether what they build is of any consequence is another matter entirely--one wouldn't exactly describe a LEGO "skyscraper" as being particular useful or expect such frivolity to convey anything other than the dollar signs of its corporate provenance (real-world example!). Regardless, the versatility of the plastic bricks reach far beyond their rigid, box-like proportions. Case in point, the Marks/Caride Residence, a recently renovated Chelsea loft that features a staircase with railing made from nearly 20,000 LEGO blocks.
I-Beam Architecture And Design led the loft revamp, which uses subtle design cues to divides the space into various zones. Work and living areas are unified by a subdued material palette (solid walnut floors and fixtures, carrera marble countertops), while the "play" areas, such as the bedroom of the clients' son, are treated more expressively with a diversity of color and materials. The architects worked with licensed LEGO artist Sean Kenney to create the stairs, whose appearance follows a color gradient that intensifies or recedes according to the up-and-down movements of the occupants. A series of randomly spaced Mondrian-like apertures break up the otherwise gleaming plastic surface, lending the stairs a sculptural quality. The cross-hatching of primary color along the top of the rail is a nice detail and speaks to the planning and effort expended on the design.