lego still life

With so many LEGO sets coming out every year, there is sure to be a brick or two that fits into your space. Sure, you might have a soft spot for the sets you grew up building, such as the Galaxy Explorer, the LEGOLand 4-Wheelin’ Truck, or maybe even a Pod Racer, but the creativity doesn’t have to stop just because you’re not a kid anymore.

In a new collection from Chronicle Books, LEGOs bring creativity and inspiration to a more sophisticated height with two photography books, an artful puzzle, and a set of elegant stationery. Whether you’re an Adult Fan of LEGO (AFOL) or a young builder in the making, the Chronicle Books and LEGO collab will be the perfect addition to your living room, office, or stylish school desk — no matter how old you are.

Who said LEGOs don’t make beautiful centerpieces? With Still Life with Bricks: The Art of Everyday Play by Chronicle Books resting on your coffee table, you have the best conversation piece and genuinely fascinating flip-through within arm’s reach. Still Life takes everyday moments and scenery and replicates them with LEGOs against gorgeous set design. A plate of bacon and eggs become brown, white, and yellow yolk-colored bricks on a real plate; the same for a painter’s palette of LEGOs or a LEGO-dusted, crafted cappuccino and brick biscotti, all captured in striking photography. The juxtaposition of the LEGO bricks and the real commonplace items make for a fun reminder to look for the wonder and charm in everyday life.

One of the book’s photographs, a number of paint buckets overflowing with single-colored LEGO bricks, is the final image in the collection’s 1,000-piece puzzle. The puzzle combines elegant photography with the simplicity of LEGO bricks for a solid, rainy-day activity. The solid-colored paint buckets make the puzzle pretty easy to piece together at a comfortable pace. And at 1,000 pieces, it will take a healthy couple of Sundays to finish, making the effort worthwhile but not too daunting.

While Still Life makes a great playful yet sophisticated coffee table book, Chronicle’s collection gains a playful sense of snark with Small Parts: The Secret Life of Minifigures, a picture book of LEGO figures in their natural, mini-world, accompanied by The New Yorker-style captions and speech bubbles. Author Aled Lewis has created charming, digestible visual gags and puns through the easily recognizable LEGO mini-figure in a world that’s not unlike our own. It’s a nice collection for anyone who enjoys a laugh, avid LEGO collector or not.

Small Parts: The Secret Life of Minifigures, by Aled Lewis

The Chronicle Books’ stationery set hinges on the Note Brick, 224 note sheets stylized on one side with charming, color-coordinated LEGO bricks. Each sheet is perfectly sized to jot down a quick note or a helpful reminder that shows off your playful sense of style. Available in warm or cool color palettes, the Note Bricks add a touch of personality to your practical needs.

Quite possibly the cutest item in the series, the Brick Erasers bring the iconic LEGO shape to the rescue of stray pencils everywhere. With it’s solid, clean edges and recognizable shape, replicating the rectangular brick (eight in one box in assorted pastel colors) as an eraser is a no brainer. The erasers feel sturdy in your hands and get the job done pretty quickly, too — although being realistic in size makes them a little smaller than ideal for a bigger hand’s grip. The Brick Eraser can be seen as a whimsical desk accessory when left alone, before surprising in its hidden identity as the handiest desk tool since the No. 2 pencil.

The erasers pair perfectly with a lined LEGO Notebook from Chronicle Books, also part of the collection. It’s a solid lined notebook with more than 140 pages that could last a few semesters or quarters. As far as notebooks go, it does the job, really only shining as a stylish piece — the warm versus cool brick color palettes make another appearance here on the front and back cover. Between the LEGO Notebook and the Note Brick, I would pair only one of the two with the Brick Erasers, or else your subtle, nostalgic style might suffer from trendy overload.

The stationary set wraps up with a collection of postcards featuring images from the Still Life book. Set in an equally adorable book-like box, this set of 100 postcards will be the go-to platform to send a handwritten note to a friend, colleague, or loved one. Each postcard is sturdy and simple with a few standard lines to write your message. With the clean design and wordless images on the front of each postcard, you can share a universally understood sentiment and fridge-worthy image with someone across the globe or down the hall.

The collaboration makes for a charming pairing between Chronicle Books and LEGO, and although the complete set works well, not every item needs to fill one’s basket. Our recommendation? If you’re the stylish and crafty type of journaler, go with the stationary set for your desk; Still Life could make a great gift or casually enjoyable addition to your office waiting room; and for your own enjoyment, go with Small Parts — the little laughs will be worth it.

With the Chronicle Books LEGO collection, the best ideas will click into place in no time. The items’ prices range from $12.95-22.95 and will be released on April 7. Preorder any of the items (or the whole collection) now at Chronicle Books’ website.

Photo: Chronicle Books