The proposed Lego set of Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban, the Bangladesh National Parliament, is now in the finals of Lego Ideas, an online platform where individuals can submit ideas to toy manufacturer The Lego Group for commercial manufacturing, after it gathered 10,000 supporters.
This initiative is under the "Build Bangladesh" project, which is the brainchild of Lego enthusiast Juditha Ohlmacher, and was launched two years ago to brand Bangladesh in a positive light, said a press release.
Juditha played with Lego bricks as a child. As years passed, she became a serious Lego builder, making intricate architectural pieces.
One day she had an epiphany. "Bangladesh has one of the greatest masterpieces of modernist architecture in the world, but most don't know about it. Why not suggest Lego to make it into a set?" she thought.
Juditha is American and married to a Bangladeshi, and has lived in Dhaka for over 16 years. She says, "I love this country and its people, and want to give back to the country that has given me so much."
Juditha built two models of the parliament out of Lego bricks and presented them at Toycon 2018. One was a huge 8,000-piece version and the other a 125-piece tabletop set, which was entered for the competition.
It took two years to reach the target of 10,000 supporters. During that time, she has appeared at many local universities, conventions and festivals like Dhaka Lit Fest to gather votes. After a year and a half, though, she had only reached 7,000 votes.
"When the coronavirus shutdown started, I became very worried, as I could no longer go around in person to promote the project. But in the past couple of months – perhaps because more people are at home on their computers – the project took off and gained a momentum I could only have dreamed of," Juditha said.
The project will now be judged against up to 25 other worldwide projects. If selected, it will become an official Lego set, available in stores all over the world.