PICTURE a set of Lego that covers 50,000 square metres (540,000 square feet), costs over one billion Danish kroner ($150m), and has a mini-golf course on its roof. In reality the new global headquarters of the Lego Group will be of real bricks and concrete, but its boss, Jorgen Vig Knudstorp, describes it with childlike glee. It will rise up in Billund, in rural Denmark, he says, as “a great facility, not opulent, very playful, for children too.” “People house” will be a totem of the firm’s success.

Mr Knudstorp is allowed to brag. The toymaker’s annual return on invested capital has topped 100% for each of the past eight years. Pre-tax profits leapt by 28% last year and sales are buoyant. His “stick-to-the-brick” strategy has done handsomely, after an earlier crisis. Warner Brothers makes and owns brand-boosting Lego movies and others run Lego-themed parks, leaving him to sell toys. After years of recruitment, he says the 4,000 staff in Denmark have outgrown their offices.

Getting a glitzy new building with an indoor prairie, open space and bright yellow staircases is a fine way to celebrate. The design is packed full of fads...Continue reading