I love visiting modern architectural masterpieces when I travel however, I am always disappointed at the selection of souvenirs to take home. Ties, cufflinks and coasters really don't do anything for me.
I'd like a collection of exquisite architectural models and I believe that there are others that have the same interest and passion for these great buildings that I do.
I have hatched a plan to do something about this and I will create products that do justice to these great buildings and their architect's great works. My idea is to create a range of architectural models that have a truth to the materials they are made from and the feel that they came from the architect's own studio.
This particular model of the Sydney Opera House has taken four years to develop. Prior to starting I thought it only right to seek the approval of Jan Utzon (Jørn Utzon's son). I was overwhelmed when he replied:
"Dear Marcus, You are welcome to make/produce a model of the Sydney Opera House. Your models present the buildings at a level I find worthy of those buildings, surpassing the usual souvenir-style representations. I’d love to see how you envisage making a model of the Sydney Opera House. Yes, I’d be grateful for a Guggenheim sample model..
Kind regards, Jan Utzon"
Having completed my prototype I recently forwarded some images to Jan to update him on my progress.
Congratulations on achieving such a level of detail on your near-perfect model of the Opera House.
If I was a tourist, I’d instantly buy one or two as a worthwhile souvenir from my trip to Sydney.
Warm regards and best wishes for your success with the model.
The first thing I do is work out a suitable scale for the model. This model measures width 210mm x depth 300mm x height 100mm and is at a scale of 1:750.
I then work from photographic references and books to study the building in all its detail. My objective is to make a model kit that is thoughtfully engineered, beautifully detailed and simple to assemble (with instructions of course). I make hundreds of models trying to work out the neatest and most appropriate solution for each and every part. I source and test a variety of materials for the different components while trying to arrive at the most suitable representation for both the model and the building.
This is the fourth generation prototype. The prototype is made using laser engraving and cutting equipment which produces extremely accurate components.
The packaging and instructions are crisp and clean.
The front of the box carries a large image of a completed model while the back has supplementary images and informative text. The box and its contents have the weight and feel of a quality product (which of course it is).
The instructions are generated from the same drawing file the model is manufactured from. These drawings illustrate each stage and are supplemented with descriptive text. Photographic reference will also be provided online.
You have the fun part of building your own model.
Batteries are not included (because you don't need them).
I will be including everything else you need to complete the model. Glue, a syringe (to apply the glue), masking tape (to hold the pieces while they glue), small pieces of sandpaper, a brush (to clean off any access glue) and a comprehensive assembly instruction manual. I have also been told not to include a craft knife (because you might cut yourself and try to blame me) but I think you are smarter than that.
I will also be providing photographic instructions online which will take you piece by piece through the assembly. Here is a quick stop motion animation of the construction of one of my prototypes. The building sections are constructed separately and then assembled on to the podium structure.
Design Registration is the only form of protection I can take out to protect my intellectual property. My design is registered with IP Australia.
I am raising funds to help put my model kit into production. Your contribution would go towards paying for:
- Production samples which need to be produced and checked prior to production.
- Professional photographs to be used on the packaging.
- The purchase of raw materials.
- Production and shipping costs.
- Marketing and the development of any point of sale units.
My aim from this Kickstarter project is to raise funds to make an initial 1000 units. The sale of these 1000 units will then enable me to produce 5000 units. I need to be producing volumes of 5000 to hit my target price point. That's a lot of parts to unpack, check, sort, collate and repack and I might need some help with that so your contribution would also help give someone a part time job.
I have developed my prototype, sourced suppliers, obtained quotes, written and drawn the assembly instructions and also designed the packaging.
The next stage is to obtain production samples from the shortlist of my selected suppliers, have some professional quality photos taken, obtain proofs for the packaging and the instruction manual.
Once approved samples of all items have been produced the model kit can then go into production.
I have met with the retail manager at the Sydney Opera House and they are really keen to stock my product, I now just have to produce it.
Here is my projected production schedule. I would strive to reduce this where possible.
I have designed, developed and produced a small range of model kits that follow the development of Australian domestic architecture. Promoting and supplying these to stores has helped me gain an understanding of retail. I have extensive experience in producing components, meeting deadlines and delivering my products, all from my own workshop. I also supply a model of Frank Lloyd Wright's Guggenheim Museum to the Guggenheim in New York.
Here's some of the feedback I have received :
“Last year I bought your Frank Lloyd Wright model kit as a present. It was perfect! Was hoping you also made the waterfall house? Or any other architectural buildings? Many thanks to you for making a great product.”
“Hi, just finished building the Guggenheim,which I bought at the Guggenheim Museum in NY. I enjoyed it because the engineering of this model was excellent! Everything fitted well and the result is beautiful! Thanks for such a nice product!”
Edgar, The Netherlands
My 12 year old son just meticulously completed your Guggenheim museum model and it is AMAZING! He is very interested in great architectural buildings of the world, unfortunately not in Australian homesteads. It would be wonderful to see you produce the Sydney Opera House - please let me know when you increase your architecture series. By the way, the workmanship, materials, and instructions for the model were outstanding. Thank you!
“I just wanted to congratulate you on your little Guggenheim. Friends brought one back from NY last month, as a gift, and I’ve just put it together, laughing and swearing at the wonder of it – so beautifully made, so clearly and logically, literately and lucidly explained in the instructions. The whole world should be as perfect as your model! Then I read on the box that it was made in Australia. I salute your commitment to quality, excellence and beauty! Well bloody done!!”
“I have just assembled one of your little houses and it is so gorgeous. I love it and the whole concept is great. I’m wondering if you’ve got any more available for sale yet as I want the whole lot!! Thank you for making such a great product.”
Sydney Harbour is one of the world's great stages and the Opera House serves as possibly the world's largest screen. The Opera House has over the years been used to promote a variety of events and festivals. If I am lucky enough to exceed my funding goal I would invest in developing a range of vinyl wraps that can be applied to an already constructed model. There would most probably be copyright issues to navigate before these could be produced.
I would also like to develop models of other architectural works from around the world. But this will take time and money too.
Here are some images of our rewards for different contributions.
Reward Level 1
I will add your name to the 'Thank You' page on my website and notify you whenever a new Architects Series model kit is released.
Reward Level 2 - Laser engraved and etched 'Thank You' card.
I will send you a standard business card sized (55mm x 90mm) 'Thank You' card.
Reward Level 3 - Details and drawings from my development process engraved on 70mm x 70mm timber.
Thank you is engraved in the bottom corner.
Reward Level 4 - Details and drawings from my development process engraved on 70mm x 70mm timber. These are mounted ready to frame.Thank you is engraved in the bottom corner.
Reward Level 5 (Early Bird) - Sydney Opera House model kit - limited number of 800
You receive a model kit + I will also send you a laser cut and engraved 'Thank you" card.
Reward Level 6 - Sydney Opera House model kit
You receive a model kit + I will also send you a laser cut and engraved 'Thank you" card.
Reward Level 7 - Sydney Opera House model kit + special presentation box kit (it's a really nice timber box)
You receive a model kit. You have to assemble both model and box + I will also send you a laser cut and engraved 'Thank you" card.
Reward Level 8 - Sydney Opera House model kit + special presentation box kit
You receive a model kit. You have to assemble the model kit, I will assemble the box for you + I will also send you a laser cut and engraved 'Thank you" card.
Reward Level 9 - Sydney Opera House model kit + special presentation box kit
You just have to watch the post box! I will build your model for you and ship it in a beautiful presentation box + I will also send you a laser cut and engraved 'Thank you" card.
Reward Level 10 - Sydney Opera House model kit + special presentation box kit engraved with a thank you message
You just have to watch the post box! I will build your model for you and ship it in a beautiful presentation box. The inside of the box lid will be engraved with a personalised thank you message.
Reward Level 11 - Sydney Opera House model kit + special presentation box kit engraved with your personalised message
You just have to watch the post box! I will build your model for you and ship it in a beautiful presentation box. The inside of the box lid will be engraved with your personalised message - great if you want to give this as a gift.
Risks and challenges
As a designer I try to design out any potential problems and I believe in clear, prompt and honest communication.
This is my biggest project to date and I don't have the capacity, equipment or space to manufacture in the kinds of volume required. I do however have the knowledge, determination and stamina to succeed.
I have sourced suppliers that I believe can deliver quality components that meet my exacting standards and I am in the process of obtaining production samples to approve prior to production. The production model will employ the same manufacturing technology.
I have sourced materials and suppliers from overseas to supplement my own ability as suitable products are not available here in Australia. There is the potential that there could be delays involved with shipping. All products and components will be checked, sorted and packaged by me and my assistant here at the Little Building Co HQ... (my workshop).
- (30 days)