In 1985, Mitch Resnick and others at the Media Lab began a collaboration with the LEGO company that continues today. We hosted a 25th anniversary celebration at the lab that was attended by the owner of LEGO and several top executives. I was given the task of creating a commemorative gift for our LEGO guests.
I started from the image of the LEGO WeDo programming blocks. These are graphical blocks for programming a robotics kit. They were inspired by the blocks in our Scratch software, which was in turn inspired by LEGO bricks. I used the block that means "repeat," and I wrapped it around blocks representing LEGO and MIT. So the blocks are a kind of visual pun representing the repeated close interactions over 25 years.
The gift points symbolically both to the past and the future: it is made of wood, representing LEGO's early history as a maker of fine wooden toys, and it uses the image of graphical programming blocks, which point to LEGO's future efforts in bridging the physical and digital worlds.
The blocks are made of solid maple, machined on the Shopbot CNC mill, engraved on a laser cutter, and stained and varnished. Embedded neodymium magnets make them stick together.