On Wednesday former Chief Designer at LEGO, and creator of the LEGO Minifigure Jens Nygaard Knudsen passed away.
Jens hired my colleague Niels in the 1970’s and they worked together until Jens retired in 2000.
“It is with great sorrow and dismay that I must announce that an amazing man, the best colleague of many years, an unforgettable friend, the most loving husband, father, father in law and grandfather: Jens Nygaard Knudsen has passed away on 19th February 2020.
Among all those who have worked for, built with, and generally known and loved LEGO over the years Jens should be known and remembered as one of the most important designers ever. He was the man who created the LEGO Minifigure, he was behind all the classic themes: Space, Pirates, Castle, Trains and countless more besides. He was a leader and an inspired builder.
Few have ever had as much imagination and creative power as he and no one who has got to know, or simply met Jens will be able to forget his amazing lovely and positive personality. LEGO fans around the world they should know that perhaps the most important ever creator of the LEGO Universe is no more. Honour his memory. His equal no longer exists.
Jens Nygaard Knudsen, 25 Jan 1942 – 19 Feb 2020.“
Niels Milan Pedersen
I (Mark Stafford) only met Jens twice, on both occasions he stuck me as full of energy and enthusiasm for LEGO and designing toys. For example I took him to take a photograph in the LEGO Idea House and he noticed a classic-space model he had designed 30 years earlier was built wrong and just had to stop, get down on his knees and fix it! Jens was made Chief Designer after the success of the minifigure he designed and led the design team throughout the a980’s and 90’s.
He designed the LEGO Minifigure, and had a hand in pretty much every LEGO theme between 1968 and 2000, including Classic Space (he designed the entire first wave and most of the later models too), Blacktron, Aquanauts, Ice Planet, all the Classic Castle themes, Trains, Pirates, Adventurers etc. He leaves behind his loving wife, three children, two grandchildren and over eight billion little plastic people infused with childhood imaginations.
Millions upon billions of happy childhood memories are owed to this man. Thank you Jens.
Please leave a comment, all of them will be forwarded to his family.
And, if you would like to do something in his memory: build a LEGO spaceship, he would have loved that. Hashtag it as #NygaardMemorialFleet and lets see what we end up with.