Review: Wooden LEGO Brick Desk Drawers by Room Copenhagen
Exorbitantly expensive, impractical for storing LEGO bricks, and lower quality than you might expect — there’s an unexpected audience who might want these wooden drawers anyways…
What’s new is the addition of a selection of even more expensive products which are made from wood, including the Storage Drawers we are reviewing today, wall-mounted bookshelves, a picture frame, and oversized 1×1 Round Plates meant to be used as coat hangers. All of these products are made of oak and offered in both a natural ‘soap treated’ and a ‘dark stained’ finish.
As Brick Architect has a long-standing tradition of reviewing LEGO Storage products, I was extremely eager to try out the entire range of stackable Wooden Desk Drawers — understanding of course that at these prices, they are out of reach for many fans and perhaps best used to store rare parts or souvenirs instead of loose LEGO bricks.
The packaging has Room Copenhagen branding in the form of a black-and-white sticker, rather than glossy LEGO branded packaging we have come to expect when shopping at LEGO.com – but this feels like a wise choice since the fairly robust corrugated cardboard box will hopefully protect the contents effectively.
My misgivings for the packaging were misguided; inside each of the corrugated boxes is a beautiful glossy box with prominent LEGO branding right on the front. The corners of the inner box were protected with rigid cardboard corner inserts within the outer box, so you have a good chance of receiving an undamaged inner box!
While nominally designed as a small storage drawer for a desk or shelf, I wanted to put these drawers through their paces. In doing so, I discovered an unintended use where they excel. Let’s explore each of these use cases.
The drawers are very cute and have a substantial-feeling weight, but don’t expect to store a ton of LEGO bricks inside. (I have to admit that I wasn’t prepared for how much smaller these drawers are compared to the first generation drawers.)
As LEGO storage
While I’m suspicious of their utility in storing bulk LEGO bricks, I decided to put them through their paces anyways. This includes measuring the storage capacity, assessing their nominal and practical storage volume, calulating storage density when multiple units are stacked, and other ergonomic considerations.
Since we are considering how well a large number of these units would work to store a lot of LEGO bricks, I am assuming that the modules are stacked when assessing storage density.
|Stacked Unit Dimensions||Unit Volume||Compartment Dimensions||Compartment Volume (full)||Compartment Volume (practical)||Qty 1×1 plates|
|2×2 Wooden Desk Drawer||15.8 × 15.8 × 9.5 cm tall
(6.2 × 6.2 × 3.8″ tall)
|2.372 L||13.0 × 13.5 × 5.1cm tall
(5.1 × 5.3 × 2.0″ tall)
|895 mL||807 mL||2100|
|2×4 Wooden Desk Drawer||31.6 × 15.8 × 9.5 cm tall
(12.4 × 6.2 × 3.8″ tall)
|4.743 L||29.0 × 13.5 × 5.1cm tall
(11.4 × 5.3 × 2.0″ tall)
|1997 mL||1800 mL||4700 (approx)|
- Height measurements based on stacked height and does not include the height of the stud on top, which are 1.8 cm (0.7″) tall.
- First Compartment Volume based on if you were able to fill to the brim, second is based on practical capacity given notch in front of each drawer (reducing practical height of each drawer by 0.5cm).
- The “Qty 1×1 Plates” value was measured experimentally, and takes into account the fact that you can not fill each drawer to the top since parts will fall out the round notch on the front of each drawer.
It is useful to understand how much LEGO you can store in a given amount of space. This concept is expressed as a percentage of the exterior volume of a storage solution which you can actually use to store stuff.
|Unit Volume||Unit Wall Space||Compartments per Unit||Compartment Volume (practical)||% Storage Density||Wall Space Storage Volume|
|2×2 Wooden Desk Drawer||2.372 L||0.150 sq m||1||807 mL||34%||5.4 L/sq m|
|2×4 Wooden Desk Drawer||4.743 L||0.300 sq m||1||1800 mL||37%||6.0 L/sq m|
|Really Useful Scrapbook Drawer w/ Hobby Tray||18.249 L||0.043 sq m||15||560 mL||46%||193.2 L/sq m|
|Akro-mils 24-drawer Cabinet||32.522 L||0.202 sq m||24||729 mL||54%||86.6 L/sq m|
|Akro-mils 64-drawer Cabinet||32.522 L||0.202 sq m||64||241 mL||47%||76.3|
|Papi Max StackX||5.142 L||0.014 sq m||15||211 mL||62%||228.3 L/sq m|
Note: The Papi Max StackX product is no longer available. I included it in the analysis due to the famously high storage density.
At 34% for the smaller drawer and 37% for the larger drawer, the storage density is extremely poor – you are storing a lot of wood and air, but not a lot of LEGO bricks! The low storage density is easily explained – the large empty space on the bottom of each stackable unit is needed for the modules to be stackable, but this space can not be used as storage.
Because many LEGO builders are more constrained by wall space than volume, I also included the storage volume as a function of wall surface area. Again, a bigger number means you can store more LEGO up against a wall of the same size. Naturally, shallow containers like these do not excel in this analysis.
The drawers are made from high quality oak boards which are free of knots or other major defects. The five visible sides and the studs are solid oak, with a high grade 5-layer plywood used for the bottom and the sides of the drawer itself.
At this price point, it would be reasonable to expect high quality joinery techniques such as dovetailed joints, but it appears that the whole thing is held together with just wood glue (and possibly a few wooden pegs).
To be clear, modern adhesives are extremely strong, but they can fail as the wood expands and contracts as it ages and hcanging humidity. I have already seen this with one of my drawers – the front edge of the drawer bottom came loose, with a gap of about 1mm which is visible with certain lighting.
I am also seeing a small gap forming on the upper-left corner of the 2×2 drawer with a light finish, and the 2×4 drawer with a dark finish. At this price point, these imperfections are inexcusable.
Many LEGO builders will remove a drawer of parts and bring it to their workbench. If you try to do this wit these drawers, you will quickly discover that the drawer does not lay flat.
The reason for this is simple – they wanted to ensure a somewhat even border on the front of the cabinet on all four sides when the drawer is inserted. Even still, the bottom edge is thicker than the other three sides. This feels like a reasonable tradeoff for the intended purpose as furniture-like premium home decor, but doesn’t work well as a LEGO storage solution.
As LEGO-branded storage for your office accessories
Let’s lower our expectations a bit and determine how well this product works as home decor. Based on the marketing photos for this product, a likely use case is in a minimalist office. Since ultramodern desks lack a drawer to keep pencils, rulers, and other office supplies, I wanted to see how well the drawers work in this scenario.
The small size of these drawers limits their utility in the office. The smaller drawer is too narrow to hold pencils, and the larger drawer is too narrow to hold a ruler. It is a good looking drawer, but it’s primary function is to signal to guests that you enjoy LEGO products without filling your office with LEGO models.
In a photo studio
Here’s the thing, the high quality wood used to create these bricks and iconic branded studs result in a compelling visual texture that contrasts well with shiny plastic LEGO bricks or glossy LEGO packaging. This is obviously not why these products were designed, but a happy side-effect of designing premium homegoods.
The product comes in both a light and dark finish which gives you additional creative possibilities. I am finding that the lighter brick is easier to work with since it works better with the white backdrop that I use for most of my product photos. It is slightly yellowish/orange in color, but does not look oversaturated in a color-calibrated image.
In my brand new 2×4 Drawer, there is a small spot in the drawer which is not stained, and an area on the left side of the front where the stain is much lighter. (I suspect they used a “gel” based stain rather than an oil-based stain, since it does not seem to have soaked into the wood at all.) For these reasons, I’m hesitant to recommend the dark stain for product photography.
I also noticed an inconsistency which casual fans might not notice, but bothers me as a photographer and perfectionist… The LEGO logo on the studs is not always the same size, even on the same drawer. The logo is 3.30cm wide on some studs, and 3.45cm wide on other studs – on the same drawer cabinet!
Given the small size and extremely high price tag, I have put a lot of thought into the intended audience for this product and how they will actually use it. First and foremost, the high price tag puts this in the category of designer housewares or even furniture. I can’t help but imagine the Room Copenhagen team dreaming of a LEGO-loving millionaire with a designer home featured in Architectural Digest. While the LEGO workshop is hidden behind a secret bookshelf, these LEGO-branded drawers or picture frames providing a hint of what guests will find hidden beyond.
Back in the real world, I struggle to imagine very many serious AFOLs who would choose to spend this much money on a few wooden drawers instead of the latest UCS Star Wars set. What I can imagine is the spouse or family member of a LEGO fan buying these in the hopes that they can showcase your love of the LEGO brick in your office or living room. In that vein, I hope to answer whether this is a good gift for the LEGO lover in your life.
To be clear, this is not a good choice for storing a lot of LEGO bricks! It is too expensive, too inefficcient, and the drawers are frustrating to use since they do not lay flat when removed. If this was your intended purpose, I can easily state that they are “Not Recommended” (1/5 stars).
What if you want a few special drawers in your LEGO room to store extremely rare parts, treasures from past LEGO conventions, or to simply store everyday objects like sticky note pads and tape? I personally do not think that they are worth the astronomical price, especially given the open issues I raised earlier about the construction quality. That said, it is an “Acceptable” option (2/5 stars) if you can overlook these concerns and have a prominent place in mind to showcase these bricks.
Lastly, I wanted to give a honest assessment based on the unintended purpose that I discovered — using them as props for LEGO-related photography. In this role, they work quite well… That said, it would a lot easier to use them in this way if they weren’t actually drawers but simply stackable wooden bricks with the LEGO logo on each stud. Assuming that the inconsistent logo size has been addressed in newer production runs, the light colored drawers squeak by with a “Good” (3/5 star) rating because the wooden bricks look really good next to cardboard LEGO boxes and plastic LEGO bricks. (I can not recommend the darker finish as it has a redder tone than I expected, and the finish isn’t very durable).