A DUBLIN man with a knack for design has been offered a contract with Lego after making brilliant miniatures of his favourite Dublin pubs.
Gianni Clifford, 35, is the creative force behind the increasingly popular Instagram account DublinBricks:
"It's my love letter to Dublin, written in Lego," he said as he detailed his artistic journey that began over a year ago.
"The first Dublin pub I built was The Long Hall," Gianni revealed. "It's an iconic pub - as perfect for a pint of plain as it is for a Lego build - and as soon as I'd completed it, I thought, 'what will I build next?'
"My next thought was, 'obviously another Dublin pub!' I loved the ability to be able to combine two things I love in such a creative way - that was the beginning of DublinBricks."
As with other masters at the top of their game, Gianni’s constructions look deceptively simple, but behind the outward simplicity, the strictly Lego brick builds require a lot of ingenuity.
"I strictly only use Lego pieces - no stickers, no custom pieces," Gianni told the Independent.
"I feel that makes the process a little trickier but definitely more rewarding."
Because of this, some projects are "taking longer than planned".
He is inundated with requests for future projects, but Gianni is driven by a personal passion for the places he builds.
"I get heaps of requests, but I tend to just pick bars I love myself," he says. "They're places I go, places I'm eager to get back to."
The small size of the Lego hostelry’s belies their attention to detail – everything from a pub’s legendary toasties, prominent television screens, and even a miniature version of Shay, the much-loved owner of the Hacienda bar on Arron Street, feature within the miniature constructions.
"He loved it," Gianni said. "He's part of the furniture there so it wouldn't have been the Hacienda without him.
"Trickiest build? "Perhaps The Lord Edward, as the facade is so complex," he conceded.
"But it just makes the build all the more enjoyable. Figuring out how I can visually recreate the pub using only Lego bricks. It's like a three-dimensional jigsaw that you need to source the pieces for."
Gianni revealed the industrial scale of the Lego input needed to sustain his projects:
"I'd say I've bought close to 250,000 pieces of Lego during lockdown… My last order alone was over 25,000.
"My postman is a saint, you can hear him rattle through Harold's Cross every day."
The young entrepreneur, who also has a full-time job as a product designer, has enjoyed immense success with the Lego sets and art prints that he sells on dublinbricks.com.
"The latest set I released was a miniature version of Dublin's famous Poolbeg Chimneys and it sold out in one-minute flat," he told the Independent.
"I thought my site had gone down or there was some issue but there wasn't, they just went that fast. Things like that give me such a positive steer on what I'm doing. The sets I sell take a long time to design and even longer to source all the pieces, but seeing people share their builds and knowing people are building along with me makes it all worthwhile."
Commenting on his planned collaboration with the toy giant, Gianni said it was a "a dream come true".
"It's been delayed a few times now because of Covid-19, and I can't talk about it in too much detail, but it will happen sometime in 2021, it'll be experiential, in Dublin and people can attend. It's the dream project for me."