Tag Archives: Modular

LEGO released 10182 Cafe Corner in 2007, setting a new standard for large-scale modular buildings. Since then, LEGO has continued to release new structures in the modular building series — 10190 Market Street, 10185 Green Grocer, 10197 Fire Brigade, 10211 Grand Emporium, 10218 Pet Shop, and 10224 Town Hall as of 2012. Meanwhile, LEGO fans have adopted the “Cafe Corner standard” and built hundreds and hundreds of beautiful buildings that fit with the official sets. See some of the best here on The Brothers Brick.

LEGO Ararat in 1972

I’ve just returned from Brickvention 2011 where I had an absolutely awesome time. I’m waiting for more photographs to appear on flickr before I give a proper roundup but there were some excellent LEGO models there.

LEGO Ararat 1972

In the interim I’ll write something about what Mike Pianta (scruffulous) and I displayed: a diorama based on the (presently flooded in) town of Ararat in Victoria, Australia as it was in the year 1972.

Mike and I started planning this about three months before the event. Our goals were ‘simple’: keep the level of accuracy and detail high, include a large curved track, and work off the grid as much as possible. Not the easiest set of goals but not impossible. I feel like we did manage to achieve them.

However we had one further problem: Mike lives in Melbourne (where the exhibition is) and I live 1800km away in Brisbane. Which meant my contributions also had to be modular enough to survive a plane trip. This was OK until, just days before I was due to go, my city was flooded leaving me wondering if I’d ever make it out.

To cut a long story short I did make it and I got very lucky with the baggage handlers who helped my models survive largely intact. Phew! Anyway, that’s probably all you want to hear about it here. If you have any further questions ask here or on flickr.

And as for the floods: my friends and family are all fine, my girlfriend got stuck on holidays for an extra three days by a flooded road and the city is a mess. Luckily the loss of life in Brisbane was very low but some nearby towns were destroyed by an ‘inland tsunami’ which killed many. Still, compared to those in Rio state we got off lightly.

EDIT: Mike now has videos.

Crimson Permanent Assurance

When I first saw the Crimson Permanent Assurance section of Monty Python’s Meaning of Life when I was a kid it simply blew my mind. This Cafe Corner standard version by gotoAndLego does the same.

LEGO gotoAndLego Crimson Permanent Assurance

It’s a pretty imposing structure and fairly close to the appropriate architectural features for the building. I would find this thing crewed by elderly clerks driven mad quite intimidating if it drifted past my office.

Abandoned museum

Many Cafe Corner style buildings begin to look the same after a while, but not this one by Barney Main (SlyOwl). I haven’t seen many dilapidated buildings, so it’s always refreshing to see something so old (as in run down). The bars on the windows are a great effect despite being simulated from tape. The mannequins inside are just creepy, and they probably come to life at night.

10211 Grand Emporium due out March 1 – modular building, full interior [News]

Contrary to some of the earlier reports about its release date, LEGO has informed us that 10211 Grand Emporiumicon is due out next Monday, March 1st, 2010.


LEGO has also provided some high-resolution photos of the set, including several nice interior shots and pictures of the little bits and pieces that make these modular buildings so awesome. See the full photoset on Flickr:

LEGO 10211 Grand Emporium interior

Here’s the complete product description from LEGO:

10211 – Grand Emporium
Ages 16+. 2,182 pieces.
US $149.99 CA $199.99 UK £ 139.99 DE € 149.99

Welcome to the grand opening of the Grand Emporium!

The LEGO® Modular Buildings series continues with this spectacularly detailed 3-story department store, designed in a realistic scale with lots of special building techniques and rare pieces. On the street outside, citizens carry shopping bags, send letters at the mailbox, admire the window mannequins, and cool off at the ice cream stand while a busy window washer works above. Enter through the revolving door to discover a ground-floor clothing department, complete with a cash register, fitting room, hats, jewelry, perfume, and even a selection of spare trousers. A brick-built escalator carries customers to the second floor housewares department with glassware and golden plates for special occasions, and then it’s up to the top floor for the toy department (complete with toy house and push-scooter) and a great big chandelier above the open atrium. Up on the roof are a billboard and skylight. Includes 7 minifigures and measures 15″ (38 cm) high and 10″ (25 cm) wide. Ages 16+. 2,182 pieces.

  • Includes 7 minifigures: 1 window cleaner, 1 female shop assistant, 1 genetleman and 1 lady with shopping bags, 1 boy plus 1 male and 1 female mannequin!
  • Enter the Grand Emporium through a revolving door that really spins!
  • The first floor has a clothing department with cash register, fitting room, hats, jewelery, perfume and more!
  • The second floor has a housewares department with glassware and golden plates!
  • Take the amazing brick-built escalator to the top floor of these 3-story department store!
  • The top floor is a toy department complete with toy house and push-scooter!
  • Grand Emporium features a big chandelier above the open atrium and even a skylight!
  • Lots of realistic details with a rooftop billboard and shoppers with shopping bags!
  • Raise and lower the window washer outside the building!
  • Send letters at the mailbox outside the Grand Emporium!
  • Admire the window mannequins from the street and stop at the ice cream stand for a treat!
  • Includes new inverted arches and rare elements like transparent 1×1 ‘headlight bricks’ and dark green windows!
  • Combine with other modular buildings like 10197 Fire Brigade and 10185 Green Grocer!
  • Measures 15″ (38 cm) high and 10″ (25 cm) wide!

Goodbye to the Brickston sun

Ralph Savelsberg (Mad physicist) recently moved from England back to The Netherlands, and he misses his former adopted home already. Away from the collaborative displays of the Brickish Association, Ralph decided to combine all of his Cafe Corner-standard buildings into his own layout, resulting in “Brickston Borough”.

LEGO Brickston Borough

As much as I like each component of Ralph’s layout — the lettering on the distinctly British buildings, the vehicles, and even the road itself — it’s the sentiment that brought them all together that I love. It’s the same community spirit on display in AFOL: A Blocumentary.

LEGO brings us together, and can keep us in touch even when we’re apart.

Snapshots of grime, in a good way

BlueBard has been posting pictures of a whole series of his Cafe Corner style buildings over the last few days. They’re all excellent, but this Italian restaurant and repair shop stood out to me as doing an exceptionally good job of capturing daily city life.

LEGO BlueBard cafe corner Al's and Garage

It’s also worth checking out his bar and comic book store, which have a similar modern feel and plenty of interior vibrancy. He’s also on Brickshelf.

10211 Grand Emporium coming March 2010 [News]

UPDATE: The LEGO Shop site now has a page up for 10211 Grand Emporium
icon with a scheduled release date of February 20, 2010 March 1, 2010.


The next addition to the Cafe Corner line of modular buildings is 10211 Grand Emporium, a great set to round out another corner of your expanding LEGO city. From the info on Eurobricks, this 2182-piece set will cost $149.99 in the US, £97.85 in the UK, and €149.99 in Germany.


Like the 10197 Fire Brigade, Grand Emporium has a full interior with some great details to get excited about like the escalator and chandelier seen through the nice dark green windows.

Via Eurobricks

Handsome masonry heralds the end of the 10182 era

The latest 10182 Café Corner building from L.G. Orlando (lgorlando) arrives just as the set that inspired it all begins to come and go, hearkening the end of the set’s availability.

LEGO Brickstone Manor Victorian house

L.G.’s brickwork under the porch is excellent, and little details like the round 1×1 plates in the window frames break up the plane of the wall.

It’s been nearly two and a half years since LEGO released Café Corner, inspiring thousands of LEGO builders to try LEGO Town creations — many of us for the first time. Though we all know that LEGO sets aren’t available indefinitely, it’s hard to imagine this inspirational set being gone forever.

See more photos of L.G.’s Brickstone Manor on MOCpages.