Interview: Robert Bontenbal


ArchBrick’s fifth interview features Robert Bontenbal (RobenAnne), a builder who achieved 10,000 supporters on LEGO Ideas! Robert likes to design modular buildings often found in seafront fishing villages. Be sure to check out all of his creations on LEGO Ideas, here.

Congratulations on achieving 10,000 supporters and receiving approval on the Old Fishing Store! Could you tell us more about this model?

“It was a complicated model and it took some time to design it and adjust it. It probably took me a couple of months to get it completely as I wanted it. The building consists of roughly 2160 parts and three floors: the main store, office, and lookout. I used the colors brown and sand green that gives it a realistic feeling. Minifigures could be added such as a fisherman, the store keeper, one captain, and a lot of details. It includes a mini fish, crab, flicking hook, starfish, sea gulls, barrels and more.”

What inspired you to build the Old Fishing Store?

“Fishing has always been my hobby. From fishing in the Caribbean, where I lived for a while, to fishing in Holland. My interest in fishing and my job as an architectural draftsman came together in this model. I got my inspiration from the HO train model houses, the LEGO houses and sea villages.


You also achieved 10,000 supporters for your Boat Repair Shop. Could you tell us more about this project?

2282981-o_1a9pkglpl1v581l99mcd12d8ta07-thumbnail-full“If you’re looking for trusted boat repair in Sea Front Village you’ve found the right place. With a full team of highly-trained technicians, our Service Department has become one of the most trusted boat repair shops in Sea Front Village. From plastic boat repair to marine engine repair our state-of-the-art equipment will get you back on the water as quickly as possible. The Boat Repair Shop includes four Minfigures; two technicians (Carpenters), captain, and a fisherman. There also are two types of boats and several tools, including a drill, and screwdriver saw. The building consists of roughly 2460 parts and a boat ramp with a crane, work floor, and storage attic. I used the colors sand yellow and olive green for the building that gives it a realistic feeling and siding technique for the clapboards. The roof just sits on the recess so it’s easy to take off and put on.”

What do you find most challenging in creating your models?

“I like to combine my view on architecture and creativity in realistic LEGO designs. So to find the right brick and color or building technique is I guess the most challenging.”

Why do you use LEGO Digital Designer as opposed to LEGO bricks?

“Starting a project (design) I usually begin by gathering information about the design that I like to build. This can be very helpful for details or give me some information about the building’s history. Or I can design something fictional then look at architectural building sites for inspiration. From there I translate it to LDD where I can change bricks or colors where it’s fiscally practical. After the model is complete I can look for the parts that’s needed for the build, but keep in mind that my projects also consist of more than 2000 bricks each.”

Do you have any other creations not posted on LEGO Ideas?

“Yes, after the Boat Repair Shop, I submitted the Boat House Diner, the Dive Shop and the Light House, but I still have some more on the shelf.”

Do you have any ideas for your next project?

“I am working on another sea front theme that is coming soon.”

How did you get started with LEGO? Why do you like to build and design?


“When I was young I loved to play with LEGO bricks, and I remember that my first set was the Fire Engine (336-1 77pcs, 1968). After having my two sons, my interest was rekindled and we enjoyed playing together with LEGO. Our spare room has been turned into a LEGO room.”

Tell us a little more about yourself. Do you have hobbies other than LEGO?

“I like fishing, photography and LEGO.”

Any tips for builders?

“Inspiration and a theme is very important and can help develop a model. It is also good to put sketches on paper, and maybe use a mood board, to determine the details and color schemes of a model. The use of the right colors has been especially important in my designs.”

Like what you see? Check out all Robert’s work on his LEGO Ideas page. You can also check out his 10K Club Interview on LEGO Ideas. Thanks again for the interview!

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