Legos are toys, but they can also inspire incredible designs. LEGO artists use the small plastic bricks to produce everything from robots to architecture. The company's engineers also design new elements that enable builders to construct more complicated models. Erik Varszegi is a Master Builder at the Lego Group, Billund, Denmark. He came up with the new element for this year's model, the curved slope. It allows Lego users to design more slanted forms, while staying within the company's strict colour palette. The slopes can be used to create more dynamic shapes, like an incline staircase.

While some Lego designs are the work of professional designers, others are the result of the popular Lego Ideas set-design program. The Ideas line allows anyone to design a set, and it can be produced. It gives fame and 1% of sales for any designer who convinces a crowd of 10,000 people that their creation is worthy of be made. It's not a surprise that the most extravagant and impressive sets usually garner the most support, especially when they are based on iconic characters or scenes from films, television shows, or in real life.

Two space icons are among the top Lego models: the NASA shuttle Discovery and the Hubble Telescope model. Each model comes with display plaques and a small Lego replica of the scientist that designed the telescope. Other impressive models include a framed Rainbow and a Steampunk Dragon and a model of Westminster Palace.