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Interview with Matthew Ashton and Diego Sancho, designers of 10291 Queer Eye – The Fab 5 Loft

Posted by CapnRex101, 19 Sep 2021 16:30

63736 Matthew Ashton


Before the announcement of 10291 Queer Eye – The Fab 5 Loft, Brickset and other Fan Media had an opportunity to ask questions of Matthew Ashton and Diego Sancho, the model and graphic designers, respectively.

Brickset: 10291 Queer Eye – The Fab 5 Loft is the latest in an incredibly diverse selection of LEGO sets produced within the last two years, exploring countless different subjects. Is the intent to attract an equally diverse group of people to LEGO, with different interests?

Matthew: Exactly. We recognise that the audience for Queer Eye is probably quite different to the established LEGO fan base. For example, women are an important demographic for Queer Eye and we would love to improve the interaction between women and LEGO. There are plenty of people who have given no thought to LEGO since childhood and products covering different interest areas can reignite that passion.

We are also fortunate to have a passionate fan base already, who might have enjoyed LEGO throughout their lifetime. Developing sets which expand the fan base further benefits everyone!

Diego, did you experience particular pressure when designing minifigures depicting real people, rather than fictional characters?

Diego: It was definitely a challenge because we have never tried to recreate a real person with modern fashions in minifigure form. Matthew and I worked well together though and there is plenty of reference material for different outfits, which makes things easier. There absolutely was the pressure or wondering what the Queer Eye team would think, but they were very pleased!

Matthew: They were delighted and there was no feedback questioning why we had chosen certain outfits, or why their minifigures looked a particular way! Diego was really respectful of the team and we tried to capture specific quirks too. Antoni, for instance, has a tendency to curl his lip when talking or smiling, so we recreated that nuance on the minifigure. We wanted to reflect who they are as people, beyond their appearances alone.

The instructions reveal a particularly close collaboration with the Queer Eye team. Are so close collaborations unusual for LEGO?

Matthew: The development process was unusual in some respects, especially with Bobby’s contributions because he is a designer by trade. He returned to LEGO during lockdown and he was incredibly passionate about the collaboration. Bobby contributed reference material and was able to identify details for inclusion that were not necessarily apparent from watching the show.

Establishing the layout was quite difficult here and Bobby’s perspective was invaluable there, allowing us to include different areas for each minifigure and capturing details from the series. From there, Diego and I could finalise the design and produce something consistent with other LEGO sets.

Makeover programmes sometimes have negative associations. Queer Eye avoids such problems, but were potential negative connotations a concern during development?

Matthew: Obviously, the fan base for Queer Eye will understand the nature of the series, and how positive it is. However, we have prepared some marketing material which we hope will promote the positive focus of the show to LEGO fans more generally. On that level, I think we are in a good place.

Also, the modern interior design and contemporary fashions might attract people more interested in that side of things, rather than Queer Eye specifically. Of course, this may open questions about LEGO representing other reality shows and that is highly unlikely. Queer Eye is so special and ties nicely with what we want to stand for, as a brand.

You can read more commentary from Matthew and Diego on Jay’s Brick Blog. Thanks also to DrKatBuilds, TrickyBricks and BrickBanter for their contributions.

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