Travel souvenirs you can build yourself | Official LEGO® Shop


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Travel souvenirs you can build yourself

Oh souvenirs…like small time machines that take us back to our happy place (“to a place where we ache to go again”). Okay, maybe it’s just us, but we’ve noticed that souvenirs have a special place in our hearts. Maybe it’s because humans rather like to collect things; at our core, we are hunter-gatherers. Or maybe, we just love to share what we’ve done and where we’ve been. Which is why the modern souvenir phenomenon occurred, tapping into those natural instincts and also functioning as cunning word-of-mouth advertising for destinations.

From the Latin ‘subvenire’ (‘occur to the mind’), a souvenir actually gets its name from a keepsake object that sparks the memories you personally associate with it, linking you back to a place and the emotions associated with it. Although there is evidence that souvenirs existed in the ancient world, the more modern forms of souvenir collecting are thought to relate back to the 17th-century German concept of ‘Wunderkammer’ (or cabinet of curiosities) containing various found and created bits and bobs. Almost like early precursors to museums. Later, the privileged Grand Tours adventurers brought home miniature replicas of the European sites they visited.

And it’s the memory-sparking aspect that is particularly relevant to the development of our Architecture theme over the last few years, from exclusively singular tourist hotspots (Leaning Tower of Pisa, Burj Khalifa, Big Ben etc.) to full city landscapes. Because we thought (and we do ever so hope you agree) that a souvenir should fire as many of those memory triggers as possible.

The LEGO® Paris skyline

New York City

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Take, for example, Paris. Now, no-one is denying that the Eiffel Tower is undoubtedly the most Instagrammable part of the city… but would an Eiffel Tower souvenir alone remind you of your walks through the Parisian parks, Champs Élysées strolls or the glow of the Lutetian limestone buildings? That’s where the Paris Architecture Skyline provides the perfect distillation of the entire city in one tasteful and cool LEGO® build that should, of course, be undertaken while eating baguette and fromage.

And yes, the Empire State Building is a striking building... but there are a few of those in The Big Apple. And any New York souvenirs should reflect that. Of course, you could buy a cheesy T-shirt with a logo (and we are partial to them too), but the New York City Skyline from LEGO Architecture has much of the mind-boggling architecture of the city, cleverly rendered down into a single build, and even including a cheeky Lady Liberty.

Apparently early pilgrims nicked bits and bobs as souvenirs from their spiritual destinations, to bring a little of the sanctity or ‘magic’ home for themselves or their loved ones. Which led us to think about how things get imbued with meaning and value by the owner or gift-giver…

The LEGO® New York City skyline


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Before we fall down any further into our pseudo-academic rabbit-hole with this and start quoting Baudrillard, we just want to mention that this is where the LEGO® Architecture sets and skylines are more than just cool design ‘objets’ for your home – (yes, we picked up un petit peu français on our travels, thanks for asking).

Indeed, these sets are cool miniaturized cities, but were also designed as the perfect, buildable tribute to an experience somewhere you’ve been with someone special. (And for all you solo travelers, that someone includes yourself, you special so-and-so.) So, you kind of imbue the set with meaning as you build’s the process that is ‘making memories’ as well as the result.

While global travel may have been on a bit of a bumpy journey of its own in recent times, building and displaying these desktop sets will take you to (or back to) those places where you want to be, in an instant.

The LEGO® London skyline

Having a pint in good old London town, experiencing the glittering Tokyo skyline, the buzz of New York City or being romantic in Paris… (nothing to stop you from proposing while you build…just sayin’).

Think for a moment about your favorite holiday. Who you went with, what you did there. Notice that feeling you get when you reminisce about those times. That feeling doesn’t fade.

If anything, it grows stronger with time. And in creating these sets, those are the exact memories we wanted to evoke.

Because, especially during the more difficult times, it’s those feelings that become all the more important to be reminded of on a daily basis.

Or... if you don’t buy into all that feeling good, self-care wellness malarkey…then at least you can be comforted in the fact that LEGO® Architecture sets look a lot better in a video conference than a tacky tourist T-shirt…

The LEGO® Tokyo skyline

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Check out the Adults Welcome homepage to see our collection of adult-focused sets and articles!