ʀᴇᴠɪᴇᴡ: IKEA BYGGLEK

Two of the strongest Scandinavian consumer brands have teamed-up. The LEGO × IKEA Partnership resulted in a new range of LEGO Storage Products—BYGGLEK.

Two years ago, LEGO announced a partnership with IKEA to create LEGO Storage products for kids. The IKEA BYGGLEK product line was announced earlier this year, and released in Western Europe and North America on October 1. Of course I picked up one of each size to check them out!

Medium and Large IKEA BYGGLEK storage boxes.

Medium and Large IKEA BYGGLEK storage boxes.

The complete BYGGLEK product line includes four products; three are LEGO Storage boxes, plus a small box of LEGO pieces (which is outside the scop of this review).

Three products, four sizes:

  • 103.542.08 – 1 Large box.
  • 503.721.87 – 1 Medium box.
  • 703.721.86 – 1x Small box + 2x Very Small boxes.

The large and medium boxes are easily assembled at home, and the smaller boxes come pre-assembled. As we will learn later in the article, they are clearly designed and produced for IKEA by The LEGO Group, which is why the boxes adhere to LEGO dimensions and the studs have good clutch power (and the LEGO logo).

Outer dimensions in the analysis below does not include the height of the studs on the top of each box, because that height goes away when the boxes are stacked.

103.542.08 – Large box

The Large Box costs $14.99 (14.61€ / £15) and is 35×26×12 cm (13¾×10×4½″). It offers a sizeable storage compartment, and the lid doubles as a huge 44×32 stud platform that’s surprisingly rigid (due to it’s two-brick height and the ridges on the underside).

IKEA BYGGLEK - Large LEGO Storage Box

IKEA BYGGLEK – Large LEGO Storage Box

Length (studs) Length (cm) Width (studs) Width (cm) Height (bricks) Height (cm) Volume (mL)
Outer Dimensions: 44 35.2 cm 32 25.6 cm 12 bricks 11.5 cm 10,363 mL
Inner Dimensions: 40 32.0 cm 28 22.4 cm 9 bricks + stud height 8.8 cm 6,308 mL

6308 / 10363 * 100 = 60.8% storage density.

The internal height of the Large and Medium box is just 9 bricks (with studs on top) because of the reinforcing ridges on the underside of the lid.

503.721.87 – Medium box

The Medium Box, $12.99 (12.66€ / £12), is 26×18×12 cm (10×6⅞×4½″); exactly half the size as the Large box. The lid doubles as a large 32×22 stud platform that’s quite rigid due to it’s two-brick height and the ridges on the underside.

IKEA BYGGLEK - Medium LEGO Storage Box

IKEA BYGGLEK – Medium LEGO Storage Box

Length (studs) Length (cm) Width (studs) Width (cm) Height (bricks) Height (cm) Volume (mL)
Outer Dimensions: 32 25.6 cm 22 17.6 cm 12 bricks 11.5 cm 5181 mL
Inner Dimensions: 28 22.4 cm 18 14.4 cm 9 bricks + stud height 8.8 cm 2839 mL

2839 / 5181 * 100 = 54.8% storage density.

703.721.86 – Small and Very Small boxes

For $9.99 (9.74€ / £10), you get one small and two very small boxes per package. Unlike the medium and large boxes, they come pre-assembled.

IKEA BYGGLEK - Small and Very Small LEGO Storage Boxes

IKEA BYGGLEK – Small and Very Small LEGO Storage Boxes

Small Box

The small box is 1/4 the size of the Medium box because it is half the width and half the height. This is enough space to store tiny treasures, but not enough space to store a meaningful quantity of LEGO Bricks.

Length (studs) Length (cm) Width (studs) Width (cm) Height (bricks) Height (cm) Volume (mL)
Outer Dimensions: 22 17.6 cm 16 12.8 cm 6 bricks 5.8 cm 1298 mL
Inner Dimensions: 18 14.4 cm 12 9.6 cm 4 bricks 3.8 cm 531 mL

530.8 / 1297.6 * 100 = 40.9% storage density.

With a tiny capacity, and a storage density of well under 50%, this product serves little role as serious storage for AFOLs.

The internal height of the Small box is just 4 bricks (without studs on top). This is caused by the reinforcing ridges on the underside of the lid.

You get two Very Small and one Small box in each package.

You get two Very Small and one Small box in each package.

Very Small Box

The very small box is half the width of the small box. This makes it so small that it’s quite cute, until you open it… The 2-stud thick walls feel wildly out of place for a box this small, and the storage space within the box is miniscule.

Length (studs) Length (cm) Width (studs) Width (cm) Height (bricks) Height (cm) Volume (mL)
Outer Dimensions: 16 12.8 cm 11 8.8 cm 6 bricks 57.6 cm 649 mL
Inner Dimensions: 12 9.6 cm 7 5.6 cm 4 2/3 bricks 44.8 cm 241 mL

241 / 649 * 100 = 37.1% storage density.

Unlike the Small box, the very small box allows a more generous internal height of 4 2/3 bricks (without studs) because it does not need reinforcement on the lid. (It still offers a terrible storage density.)

Build Process (Large and Medium Boxes)

The large and medium boxes have to be assembled when you get home. (That’s why the cardboard boxes are about half as tall as the assembled boxes.) By designing it to be flat-packed, they definitely reduce shipping costs, and probably reduce production costs by using much smaller moulds.

Each box is comprised of a lid, two long sides, two short sides, and the bottom. The sides attach to one another using a plastic intrpretation of the classic “tongue and groove” woodworking technique, with the added detail of a retaining clip when it is pushed all the way in.

The Medium and Large boxes attach with tongue-and-groove and clip connections.

The Medium and Large boxes attach with tongue-and-groove and clip connections.

Attaching the bottom requires a bit more force, as you walk around the perimeter pressing the clips along the bottom edge of each side into rectangular slots in the base.

The underside of the lids closely match the design of early "brickplates" like this 10×20 from 1956-1969.

The underside of the lids closely match the design of early “brickplates” like this 10×20 from the 1960’s.

I have heard other reviewers complain that it is difficult to disassemble once built, but I found that it is easy enough to apply pressure to one clip at a time, releasing the base from the sides. The sides are even easier to remove, requiring just a little bit of pressure to release the retaining clip.

New Elements

It was a surprise to see markings on each part that perfectly match those of official LEGO Elements, complete with a 5-digit Part ID for each unique piece. Combined with the indication on the box that it was “Made in Czech Republic”, I have no doubt that the parts were produced by the LEGO factory in Kladno (one hour west of Prague).

Every part has a familiar 5-digit LEGO Part ID.

Every part has a familiar 5-digit LEGO Part ID.

Since the parts were clearly designed by LEGO, these three sets contain a lot of new genuine LEGO parts. Further, this reflects two new connection types which are (technically) within LEGO System of parts. (At BrickCon this weekend, LEGO Element designer Henrik Andersen explained that while new parts are common, new connection types are extremely rare!)

103.542.08 – Large Box

  • 1x – 44×32×2 Lid (part 35011) in 1White.
  • 2x – Box Wall w/ Groove (part 35007) in 1White.
  • 2x – Box Wall w/ Tongue (part 35010) in 1White.
  • 1x – 44×32×2 Box Bottom (part 34993) in 1White.

503.721.87 – Medium Box

  • 1x – 32×22×2 Lid (part 35199) in 1White.
  • 2x – Box Wall w/ Groove (part 35195) in 1White.
  • 2x – Box Wall w/ Tongue (part 35197) in 1White.
  • 1x – 32×22×2 Box Bottom (part 35020) in 1White.

The third product contains one small and two very small boxes—that’s why two sizes are listed for that set. (The smaller boxes come pre-assembled, but each is made from two parts and a lid.)

703.721.86 – Small and Very Small Boxes

  • 1x – 22×16×1 Box Lid (part 35019) in 1White.
  • 1x – 22×16×5⅔ Box Wall (part 35018) in 1White.
  • 1x – 22×16 Box Bottom (part 35017) in 1White.
  • 2x – 16×11×1 Box Lid (part 35016) in 1White.
  • 2x – 16×11×5⅔ Box Wall (part 35015) in 1White.
  • 1x – 16×11 Box Bottom (part 35014) in 1White.
Tooling marks clearly visible on the underside of the lids.

Tooling marks clearly visible on the underside of the lids.

One other interesting observation is that the mould used to produce these parts is not uniformly smooth like most LEGO parts. A pattern of circular marks is clearly visible on the underside of the lid, suggesting that this side of the mould was not milled with the same high resolution and mirror finish that we see on most LEGO parts. (It is possible that these marks will become less visible when the mould has been used for a longer time.)

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Conclusion

I am unusually conflicted as I try to wrap-up this article. On the one hand, the product does seem like a good fit for the target audience of younger builders. The boxes are easy (for an adult) to assemble, and invite play with the large studded lid. The recesses on two or four sides (depending on the container) allow you to decorate the box exterior, or label it to reflect what is stored inside. This is very helpful if you (or your kid) has a medium-sized LEGO collection that is sorted into broad categories like Bricks, Plates, Curved/Slope, Technic, and Minifig/Accessories.)

Since each box is half (or 1/4) the size of the next largest box, they stack together beautifully.

Since each box is half (or 1/4) the size of the next largest box, they stack together beautifully.

That said, it falls short of what it could have been for all audiences with some small changes. The first concern is the lack of a tight-fitting lid. This makes it hard for kids (or adults) to transport LEGO between rooms or outside of the home without worrying about making a huge mess and losing parts. The second big issue is the lack of a real handle to carry the containers. (While products with a large lip also have poor storage density because they can’t be packed tightly on a shelf, they are easier to carry.)

Another issue is that it’s hard to get rectangular parts out of the bottom of the box because it has a sharp corner. Rounded corners help parts slide around the radius and into your hand. Lastly, I strongly dislike the choice of using white plastic instead of clear plastic, especially for the bottom of the box. Clear plastics allow you to lift the box in the air to find the part you need which has fallen to the bottom of the container.

Lastly, I’m afraid that a variety of factors prevent it from making sense for msot of the adults reading this article. The first concern is the cost—while x/y/z$ is reasonable price for a LEGO set, it’s very costly for storage containers of these sizes. Secondly, the storage density is not as good as some other options due to the thick, hollow walls, and the inefficient design of the lid and base. And that’s not to mention the issues we already called out about the lack of a handle, the lack of a tight-fitting lid, and the opaque mateial which makes it harder to see what’s at the bottom of the box.

A lot of Love of the Brick went into the product and packaging design.

A lot of Love of the Brick went into the product and packaging design.

I have to acknowledge that these products have clearly grown out of a deep respect of the LEGO System of parts, and even the packaging reflects the LEGO brand in a way that is sincere, while also allowing some of IKEA’s personality to show through too.

Given this mix of strengths and weaknesses, Large and Medium IKEA BYGGLEK Storage Boxes earn our 3/5 Stars (Good) rating for children with modest LEGO collections, but just 2/5 Stars (Acceptable) for Adult Fans of LEGO. The Small and Very Small boxes are pretty useless due to the extremely low storage capacity, which is why they earn just 2/5 Stars (Acceptable) for all audiences.

While IKEA BYGGLEK isn’t the storage solution of my dreams, let’s hope that a continued collaboration results in future products that appeal better to Adults!

5 Responses

  1. Avatar Mags says:

    Thanks Tom for a very comprehensive review. When I first saw the announcement of this collaboration, I didn’t by the idea. There hasn’t been a shortage of mix comments from AFOL, especially in the midst announcements relating to other collab projects. On paper, the BYGGLEK doesn’t seem appealing, certainly not to me anyway. But I’m warming up to the idea and really excited the new elements – I am glad you brought this up!

    As an AFOL, it takes some convincing for sure. I’ve read a few blogs, reviews and photos about the BYGGLEK, and I started to see how it might be a worthy addition to my collection. This part-play, part-storage design is supposed to spark creativity and play time between parents and kids (that’s what the press always says anyway). I think BYGGLEK will meet this expectation. I recently saw some great creations from fans as posted on the Brick Blogger. Fans use the BYGGLEK to construct tea bags containers or planters box with LEGO plants and light installations. The BYGGLEK is like a mystery box (borrowing JJ Abrams’ philosophy here) – what’s inside the BYGGLEK can spark creativity and unexpected fun. I think I’ll give the BYGGLEK a go.

    Brick a leg!

    Mags

  2. Avatar Shiri DH says:

    Thank you Tom for the rapid review of this new product. I was very curious about these sets but now will hold off on them!

    • Avatar Tom Alphin says:

      My pleasure. It is my hope that reviews at Brick Architect help you spend money on the very best LEGO sets and storage products that will enhance your LEGO Experience for years to come.

      In this case, that may mean helping AFOL’s consider alternatives to BYGGLEK.

      —tom

  3. Avatar Thomas Carl Reyes says:

    Like all beginnings, there will be a bunch of hiccups accompanying this new product line. When the deficiencies become obviously glaring to the designer’s eyes and when the initial profits drop because of disappointment with the product, either effective revisions will come about or the extinction of the product, itself.

    • Avatar Tom Alphin says:

      I just hope that IKEA × LEGO design additional storage solutions that target AFOLs better in the future. It really is a perfectly adequate product for kids. Sure, there are cheaper options that are better in many ways, but it does inspire play which I love.

      —tom

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