The Atom Brick x Frank Lloyd Wright: Q&A with Founder Adam Reed Tucker
Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation | Dec 12, 2019
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation has recently collaborated with The Atom Brick, a company that seeks to inspire today’s builders to create the world around them using interconnecting bricks. In their first launch, they created three of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most well-known buildings.
To learn more about what went into creating these building kits, we spoke with Adam Reed Tucker, founder and design-visionary at The Atom Brick.
Tell us a little about yourself and about your company, The Atom Brick.
I studied architecture, mechanical engineering, and the philosophy of design theory at Kansas State University. I also have a background in art and am formerly a LEGO certified professional. In 2018 I had this idea of inspiring creativity by telling the stories of the world around us. I wanted to use the brick as a construction medium, to tell the story in a very creative way. I came across a smaller brick, and I called it the atom brick, because as we know the atom is the building block of life, so the atom brick is meant to be the building block of design. I have nine categories of telling the various stories of our world, including art and design, sports, engineering, history, nature, architecture, and entertainment.
The whole idea behind The Atom Brick spawned from using an encyclopedia as a child. I used to use the encyclopedia for all of my research in school, and obviously today kids are using the internet and search engines to learn about things. I kind of wanted to take a step back and explore some of those subjects that you find in encyclopedias by storytelling through educational souvenirs.
I want to create a product line that preserves the stories of our planet for future generations to enjoy. By creating a little piece of Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture, or something else historically significant, I feel that I’m able to make these things come to life right at your fingertips, even if you may not have the chance to see or experience them in real life. The Atom Brick is intended for people of all ages, men, women, boys, and girls. It’s trying to break the stigma that bricks are just meant to be used for toys, and I want to prove that just like metal to a blacksmith or paint to a painter, that interconnecting plastic bricks can be a medium to tell many different stories through design and creativity.
What inspired you to create these Frank Lloyd Wright sets?
Frank Lloyd Wright is my favorite architect and I’ve visited between 30-40 of Wright’s works. As an architect and designer, I feel a great connection to his work in the way he uses things like symmetry, balance, form, color harmony, scale, and proportion. I was inspired to recreate these Wright buildings with atom bricks because there’s so many different styles, subjects, and landmarks that he has to offer as an architect.
He has hundreds of amazing designs and so we really wanted to showcase a selection of those in this release. Wright had a great breadth of creativity and still to this day his designs are just as powerful and ahead of their time as they were when they were built many years ago.
What does the process look like for creating these sets from start to finish?
I begin the process by researching my subject by searching the internet, through books, and images. It’s important that I figure out what the specific elements are that must be included to capture the essence of the subject, and I’ll dial in on those.
I’ll then build study models, and from that I’ll create a completed model. I do that in gray first, not in color, that way I’m studying the forms, textures, shade, and shadow of the model by having it be monotone.
Then I’ll create another model in the correct color, and from there I go into the structural integrity phase to ensure that all the parts will stay together. Next I go into a builder experience phase, to test if it’s possible for someone that hasn’t designed this model to put it together based on the instructions. The final stage is the part optimization, where I check that the part usage in the model is the most efficient that it can be. We also include a booklet that gives a little history and background on the subject to give the person assembling the set the opportunity to gain a deeper appreciation for what they are building even if they can’t truly experience it firsthand.
What was your favorite part in the process?
My favorite part of the process is the part optimization process, where I’m really polishing the model. This phase of the process requires the most amount of troubleshooting and problem solving, and that’s the part that really intrigues me. Designing a model has its own set of challenges but the really analytical part where I’m able to figure out the small details is my favorite.
The Atom Brick’s Frank Lloyd Wright building kits are now available for pre-order. The kits available include Taliesin West, the Darwin D. Martin House, and Unity Temple.