The LEGO Group was founded on August 10, 1932 when master carpenter Ole Kirk Kristiansen began making wooden toys in his workshop in Billund, Denmark. To celebrate its 90th anniversary, LEGO has opened a new play space for kids called Fly Away Isles, designed in collaboration with renowned artist Hebru Brantley.
Fly Away Isles is located in the heart of West Harlem, New York in Johnny Hartman Plaza and was inspired by the imaginations of local children from The Brotherhood Sister Sol (BroSis). BroSis is a social justice youth development organization dedicated to educating young people, organizing with them in pursuit of justice, and creating a space for Black and Latinx youth to examine their roots, define their stories, and awaken their agency.
The new play space features installations such as a rocket soaring through clouds, pyramids inspired by volcanoes, and stepping stones that transport visitors between colorful islands. Hebru captured the creative optimism and boundless ideas of the children and turned their dreams into a reality. The floor of the space also features a mural by Hebru in his signature bright color palette. This marks the Chicago-based artist’s first mural in New York.
“My work often explores stories about the world I grew up in, so meeting the children from BroSis and hearing their vision for the world we live in now had a profound impact on the design of this play space,” says Hebru Brantley. “I wanted to create something that offered the local community a chance to come together regardless of their background or culture, leave the pressures of the busy world we live in behind and explore what the work looks like through the optimistic eyes of children.”
The Fly Away Isles grand opening coincides with LEGO brand’s 90th anniversary, which the company is celebrating with its first ever World Play Day – a day dedicated to “helping children, families and communities around the world find a moment of play.” Fly Away Isles will be open to the public until November 5th, 2022, while the mural will be on display until July 2023.
Check out photos from the grand opening of Hebru Brantley and LEGO’s Fly Away Isles below and learn more about LEGO World Play Day on the LEGO website.