If you’ve visited my home in the last 5+ years or if we had a video call while I was working from home, you’ve certainly noticed my LEGO Wall. It’s a conversation starter for adults and a magnet for kids (a colleague once asked me how do I keep small kids from ransacking it).

What you might not know is how it got started. Yes, I’m a long time LEGO fan and was lucky to have many sets as a child, which were then passed on to, and expanded by, my brother, and have since then been lost as we both left our home country many years ago. But my current collection started for a very different reason, and that’s that I’m not a good illustrator.

I began buying individual LEGO minifigures to use in creative pitches I would do for clients while running my experience design and conference consulting practice. When pitching an experience to a new client, I sometimes had to hire a graphic designer and an illustrator to transform into images the concept I wanted to present, but this often proved quite expensive. So I had the idea of taking photos of minifigures representing the people involved in the experience and explain the scene using captions and speech bubbles.

For this reason, I sought out to get minifigures that looked like “regular” people and not those of fantastic creatures, superheroes or other weird characters. The fact that you can pop into a LEGO store and assemble your own figures was a great way to get the kind of characters I needed.

At the time I was going through a rather minimalist nomadic lifestyle and it was difficult to carry all the pieces with me all the time, so I went on buying them and storing them here and there. Around those years LEGO stared issuing special edition “mystery bag” figures and I got hooked by those too. When I moved to London and finally brought together all my belongings, I decided I didn’t want to keep in a box the many characters I had so far collected and went on to fix a couple of LEGO baseplates to one of my living room walls so all the characters would be readily accessible. As my collection kept on growing I tweaked what had now become an art installation rather than a business tool.

My LEGO Wall currently comprises 420 minifigures, plus several more stored away for an eventual expansion (I need bigger walls!).