The Starry Night marks Lego's evolution from toy to design object. Tatler Homes chats with the designer who realised this masterpiece—and suggests six other decor-worthy sets

There was a time when building Lego was a pastime only enjoyed by children but about two decades ago when Lego began making licensed sets inspired by hit movies like Star Wars and Harry Potter, it was adult fans who made up the bulk of consumers. Lego is now the world’s largest and most profitable toymaker with adult fans like Ed Sheeran and David Beckham boasting openly about their love for it.

While Death Stars models and Central Perk dioramas will always have a place among collectors, Lego has also been producing sets that go beyond being display items and could easily be incorporated into sophisticated home decor. The latest set that has captivated fans who exist at the intersection of Lego enthusiasts and fine art lovers is The Starry Night set, based on Vincent van Gogh's 1889 post-impressionist masterpiece.

Apart from the 3D painting, the set also includes a mini figure complete with a paintbrush, palette, easel and mini painting on a printed tile, which can be attached to a hanging arm to show him painting the scene. The intricate set can be displayed standing upright or even hung on a wall.

The set is based on a design by Truman Cheng, a Lego fan based in Hong Kong, who submitted his set design on the Lego Ideas platform. Lego also created the set in conjunction with the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York, where the original work is currently located.

Soren Dyrhoj, a Lego design master, was tasked with translating Cheng's vision. He explains that the process took only two to three weeks because Cheng's build was "absolutely amazing".

Dyrhoj also clarifies that while no new elements needed to be manufactured for the set, new decorations such as the moon and stars as well as new brick colours needed to be made to convey Van Gogh's dreamy sky. Not to mention the Van Gogh mini figure designed by Nikki Ayumurti Hartomo.

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Dyrhoj strove to make the building process enjoyable and clear, which is particularly crucial as the set comprises 2,316 pieces."When we design, we try to make it easier for the player to find the bricks. We also ensure that the building flow is nice," he says.

When building the set, Dyrhoj offers this tip: "Watch out when you're building the background, which is quite complex because there are many one-by-one plates to be stacked but just in case you miss it, we included four extra plates"

Expressing Van Gogh's spirit is essential in the finished product and Dyrhoj opines that the swirl in the Starry Night sky was the biggest challenge during the design process: "In relation to Cheng's original build, I wanted the swirl to look more like brush strokes, which I did by building in many different directions and using some rounded bricks to soften the effect."

Dyrhoj has managed to capture Van Gogh's artwork superbly even though he worked on the set only with the help of postcards and posters MOMA provided. "I hadn't seen the painting in real life and when I finally did, I saw so many things in the real painting as you could almost read Van Gogh's mind just from the brushstrokes."

Although Dyrhoj has no idea whether Lego will continue to bring to life iconic paintings, he believes that it's a good thing that building Lego now transcends age. "I think it's great that Lego is enjoyed by adults and children alike. Lego has become a common language that everyone understands and a creative tool from which you can build whatever you want. I actually wish there was Lego for adults when I was a kid because that would have connected me with my parents."

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Apart from The Starry Night, here are six more Lego sets that will be a cool addition to any home decor.

Birds of Paradise

A beautiful centrepiece for any table, the Bird of Paradise is an exotic interpretation of one of horticulture's most majestic tropical blooms. Clocking in at 1,173 pieces, this set features surprising elements like purple Lego swords for the flower stamens. Flowers and leaves can also be repositioned, allowing you to style the plant to create your own unique display. 

The Globe

An elaborate 2,585-piece 3D globe kit designed for adults, this vintage-inspired The Globe can be spun around as you would a regular globe. The set arrives with printed tiles that tell you where you’re looking at and labels that glow in the dark, so you can admire it even when the lights are off. 

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Flower Bouquet

For flowers that last forever, the Flower Bouquet is an inspired choice. Comprising 756 pieces, the set allows you to create 15 different stems with a mix of flowers, leaf varieties and grasses. Flowers include roses, snapdragons, poppies, asters and daisies, all offered in realistic petal shapes and colours. Perfect for creating a table setting that will definitely be a conversation starter.

Orchid

The elegant Phaelenopsis orchid gets the Lego treatment with a set that looks remarkably close to the real thing. With 608 pieces, this set features amazing attention to detail complete with a blue fluted vase, wandering air roots and even the brown Lego elements to recreate the bark mix that a real orchid would grow in. It’s all the delight of an orchid, without the fuss of a real one!

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Warhol

Andy Warhol's iconic Marilyn Monroe silkscreen transcends pop art in this 3,341-piece set that includes nine canvas wall decor plates, a signature tile, a brick-built LEGO frame and a hanging element. The set has four unique build options that offer different ways to customise your finished product and even comes with a soundtrack so you can dive deeper into the art set and learn new details about it.

Bonsai Tree

The meditative art of bonsai shaping is translated to Lego form in this charming Bonsai Tree, which comes complete with a rectangular pot and slatted wood-effect stand. At 878 pieces, its leaves come in either green leaves or pink cherry blossoms but a closer look at the pink cherry blossoms will reveal that they are made up of tiny frogs.  Also, the plant includes leaf elements made from plant-based plastic, produced using sustainably sourced sugarcane.

Succulents

Make your own succulents collection in this 771-piece set which comes together to create nine different plants. You can also customise your display by presenting the plants together, in small groups or individually. Inspired by real succulents, each plant has been carefully designed to capture the look of a real succulent down to the shapes, textures and colours.

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