Every once in a while I'll scroll back through a builders photostream on Flickr and realize just how many of their builds have been featured on BrickNerd. Naturally, at that point I realize I'm a big fan of their work, and it's about time they were featured in Builder Showcase. This time around it's LEGO designer Cesar "Cesbrick" Soares. While Cesar gets to design the sets we love for a living, that hasn't stopped his passion for building in his free time, and his creations are always jaw-dropping. It's also fun to watch a builder who normally has to build with pretty rigid restraints get to stretch his wings and break a few "rules". I'm happy to let you all get to know him a little better.
Tell us a little about yourself, how did you get started in the hobby?
My name is Cesar Soares, I’m 39 and I was born in a small town in the north of Portugal. When I was a kid I had lots of LEGO sets and it was by far my favourite toy! I eventually stopped playing with them when I was around 16 years old. Then about 2 years ago I was watching an episode of The Big Bang Theory show and one of the main characters was building a LEGO Star Wars Ultimate Collectors Series Death Star. I was mesmerized by this and immediately went online to look for more. I discovered the wonderful world of Adult LEGO Fans! I work as LEGO Designer in Billund Denmark for a year now, but before that I use to be a teacher in Portugal.
What is your earliest LEGO memory?
My very first LEGO memory is me seating on my bed on Christmas day, very early in the morning, unboxing the wonderful 6080 set, King’s Castle! I’m not sure if this was my first LEGO set, but it is my first memory. Funny enough, the Designer of this set is still in the company, so I bought a used copy and got it signed!
What drives you to create?
LEGO, in my opinion, is much more than a toy. One can even argue that it might be considered an art medium. So for me it is an absolute pleasure to interconnect all these small plastic bricks and be able to create something that doesn’t actually exists in real world. See such creations come to life and seeing it finished is what really drives me to do more.
I have a very keen interest in all kinds of fantasy and whimsical worlds like Lord of the Rings or Game of thrones, so I think it’s natural that most of my creations somehow touch these universes.
Would you call yourself a purist (no cutting, painting, knockoff)?
Not 100% purist as I often cut string and flexible tubbing on my builds. But I don’t think I could ever cut anything else or use a third party piece.
Do you have any favorite builder(s)?
For me, when I started, David Hensel (Legonardo Davidy) was one of my main inspirations. His beautiful and colourful creations where definitely one of the reasons that drove me to build medieval fantasy MOCs. In addition to David I also admire lots of other builders. A few come to mind like Nick Vas (Brickthing), Markus Rollbuhler (Rolli), Jonas Kramm (Legopard) or Barney Main (SlyOwl)
Do you ever look back on old MOCs and say "if I only…"
Yes, quite often actually. I’m never totally satisfied with the final result so I always want to change this or that and make it better. Especially in the beginning, when the parts collection wasn’t very big, I struggled with some builds and I wished that I had more parts.
Tell us about your building area.
My building area is located in my living room because I have no extra room for it. I have my parts sorted mainly by type and not by colour. Although I have some specific parts, especially basic bricks, that I have separated by colour. All the parts are in transparent plastic containers of various sizes and shapes. I have a nice white table to build and my laptop is always on with some kind of video review of a LEGO set or an AC-DC concert. I have very few MOCs that are still intact, but the ones I have are displayed in a cabinet in the same room.
Do you ever build digitally? If so with what?
No, never. I am definitely a physical builder. You can have a better sense of things when you build physically. Plus, when you have limited bricks you have to be more creative and imaginative, in my opinion.
Do you have a time of day when you build most productively?
I almost always build after dinner as I have 2 small kids that take up all my free time and the only time I can build is when they are asleep.
Do you listen to music while you build?
Yes, quite often. Usually full live concerts of my favourite bands like AC-DC, Guns and Roses, Queen or James.
Do you keep all your MOCs? If so, do you display them?
No, unfortunately almost all my initial MOCs were dismantled so I could use the parts in another builds. However, after joining my LUG (Comunidade 0937) I was able to get access to a lot more parts and I built plenty of MOCs that were part of the LUG’s exhibitions across the country. They are still there and sometimes they get displayed. I do have a couple of them in my living room, though.
Do you have an all time favorite LEGO set?
For me it has to be the 10211 Grand Emporium. It was my first set after my Dark ages and it has so many details, both inside but also on the outside, and such a beautiful architecture that I simply think is one of the best sets out there.
If you could pick a single creation of yours for permanent display somewhere notable, what and where would it be?
I would pick my Point Dume Residence. I think it illustrates very well what a dream house can look like and it has clean modern lines so I think it would be perfect for display in an architecture studio.
Which of your MOCs would you say personifies you?
That’s got to be my Kids Room!! I’m still a big kid and I still play with LEGO. I was fortunate enough to have a very happy childhood with lots of toys and lots of LEGO and my room was my sanctuary when I was a kid. This MOC shows how a kid’s room should be, with toys all over, a comfortable bed, your drawings on the wall and a telescope near the window so you can see the stars!