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Driven to Build with LEGO: Our Interview with Riccardo Zangelmi

Driven to Build with LEGO: Our Interview with Riccardo Zangelmi

Giuseppe Tripodi

Friday June 10 I was in LEGO Store in San Babila To celebrate the birthday of the company: The world’s sweetest bricks are fulfilled 90 years And in the next eight weeks, they’ll be there Celebrations and events all over the world.

One of the first things I noticed when I walked into the LEGO store was obviously a wonderful birthday cake that I made Ricardo Zangelmi. Ricardo is the only one Certified LEGO Professional Italian and His job is to build a LEGO business.

LEGO Fan Italy

Intrigued by the profession, unique and undoubtedly wonderful, I stopped chatting with Riccardo, who answered some of my questions in this short interview.

Q: Hi Ricardo, You are the first LEGO Certified Professional in Italy: when did you become one and how did you become a LEGO Certified Professional?

A: I officially became a LEGO Certified Professional in 2016. It all stems from my passion for bricks, from building and developing projects with LEGO: I’ve been fortunate enough that some LEGO folks have noticed my work and from there a direct dialogue with the company.

D: So they searched for you?

A: Yes, there was an interest on their part in my creations which led to the path that led me to become a LEGO Certified Professional, and that was a huge satisfaction.

Q: And what innovations prompted LEGO to contact you?

A: Look at me at 30 – now 10 years ago, because I’m now 40 – I’ve been doing a series of cartoon characters, and projects similar to those of the LEGO Creators, to give an idea of ​​what kind of build it is. Characters with beautiful eyes, all things very funny … and from there they noticed these characters, who were appreciated, and called me.

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Q: Can you tell me about three incredible jobs you’ve done?

A: It put the rover on top for sure, a 1:2 version of the Perseverance Rover launched on Mars in 2020. It was a project that was developed at the behest of NASA and the United States. And then the rover is an engineering product that remaking it in LEGO was a huge challenge that put my team and I to the test, because we’re still talking about robots built by the best engineers in the world.

Another beautiful model we made is a replica of the Ducati Panigale V4 R, developed with LEGO Italia and Ducati. It’s a 1:1 replica, we used about 15,000 pieces of LEGO Technic bricks for fairness, while the wheels and frame were real, so you can have it.

Another cool project was Vespa, which was the last project we did with LEGO. Once again a 1:1 replica of an iconic object of Italy. I have a vespa in my heart, my grandfather had it, and I also drove it when I was a kid, so I wanted to, it was a great pleasure.

[nella galleria di seguito, alcune foto dei tre progetti citati da Riccardo Zangelmi. Tutte le immagini vengono dal sito dell’azienda fondata da Riccardo,]

Q: But when you work on your business, what is the creative process? Do you do a computer project first? How it works?

A: It depends on the type of product, we tend to make by hand, we have 5 or 6 million pieces in stock, actually almost the entire fleet of LEGO pieces. So in certain types of models there’s a manual approach, and in other more specific models, which probably have certain stability requirements, where maybe people are expected to be able to interact with them, we’re working with CAD that uses LEGO bricks to be able to. As well as designing the internal steel structures, which ensures the stability of the project.

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Q: You have 5-6 million pieces, but how big is the place you work?

A: My studio area is 500 square meters, which is a warehouse.

[nella galleria di seguito alcune immagini dello studio di Riccardo Zangelmi, foto via]

Q: Listen, but when they ask you what your job is, how do you answer?

R: [ride] Everyone says I play with LEGO and a little bit is true, a little bit of play. But in fact, our work is very professional, even if it is very technical. It’s a very serious game in the sense that there is a very important design and engineering behind our creation, as well as a dose of obvious creativity. It seems easy, but it isn’t.

Q: Final question: You are the only Italian, but are there other LEGO-certified professionals abroad? Are you planning together?

A: Yes, there are others abroad, we are 19 all over the world. We’ve never really made plans together, we see each other at the annual meetings and hear each other over email but we’ve never really worked out together, and it’s definitely going to be a great experience.