Blocks magazine is celebrating 10 years of LEGO Friends by speaking to the design professionals behind the theme – find out how they started their careers at the LEGO Group.
In Issue 88 of Blocks, the LEGO magazine for fans, Senior Design Director Rosario Costa and Creative Director Fenella Blaize Charity discuss how they came up with LEGO Friends – the concept, the mini-doll, the colours, the world… all of it.
To get an introduction to the design duo, here is a bonus interview in which they discuss joining the LEGO Group and the first projects they worked on:
Rosario: I started in 1997, almost 25 years ago. I’m originally from Portugal, I came to Denmark as an exchange student on an Erasmus programme to study design in Copenhagen and I did the Masters there. When I finished I opened a design studio in Copenhagen, and it was the time when you’re trying to find out what you want to do. Do you want to have your own agency? Or do you want to apply for a job in a company? The LEGO Group was very interesting so I applied for the job.
I worked with Belleville, that was my first project for a year, when we did the whole facelift from a present day theme to a fairy tale fantasy. Then I moved on to many other different projects, technology, different target groups, different play themes… many, many different product lines I’ve worked with. Friends is actually the area where I’ve stayed the longest. Now I’m doing something totally different, I’m working with Duplo right now.
Fenella: I started back in 2007. I was actually straight out of university, I studied industrial design. And the LEGO Group came to my degree show, it was called New Designers – it’s still going and I got hired in for what was going to be the Friends project with Rosario, but I didn’t know about that. It was just really exciting to be in LEGO at all, the LEGO Group.
When I started there was still some time until this project was going to kick off, so I worked on Creator 3 in 1. That was the best onboarding I could have had because you really get to understand the system because you just have to make three models out of [one set of bricks]. It was a bit of a steep learning curve but I had Jamie Berard as my mentor. Then six months later I went on to be in the LEGO Friends team with Rosario.
Find out exactly what Rosario and Fenella got up to on their top secret assignment, which would become LEGO Friends, in Blocks magazine Issue 88. It’s a fascinating feature packed with concept art and design sketches, including never-before-seen imagery. You might think you know the LEGO Friends story, but we’ve got brand new stories that haven’t been told before. To make sure you don’t miss these fantastic features, take out a subscription.