Glasgow’s Art Deco gem

The Rogano in Glasgow’s Royal Exchange Place epitomises the 1930’s style of the transatlantic Cunard liner, Queen Mary, which it was modelled upon.  Both were designed and built in Glasgow in the mid 1930’s and both have stood the test of time. The Rogano is still a popular favourite for a special occasion or a cheeky lunchtime cocktail, while the Queen Mary is still a major attraction, albeit now leading a more sedentary existence moored at Long Beach, California as a hotel, restaurant and museum.  Opened in 1935, the Rogano is Glasgow’s oldest surviving restaurant.  Its name came from its original owner (Mr Rogers) and his anonymous business partner (ANO).  You can read more about the Rogano history in this Glasgow Living piece.

As a fan of Art Deco, and working nearby, the Rogano was an easy choice for me as a potential Lego model.  This was also the first building for which I used Lego Digital Designer to develop the design.  You can download Lego Digital Designer free from the Lego Group here.  It’s quite handy for trying out different ways of building something without having to commit to buying lots of bricks.  It can help you narrow down the options for testing out later.  You can see from the image below that the lobster design evolved significantly from its early digital form.  You can find a guide to building the lobster in a separate post here.

An early image from Lego Digital Designer

Like most of my frontages, this model is basically four studs deep; built on a base of 4 X 6 plates.  The scale, dictated mainly by the lobster and door design, is about one and a half times Lego minifigure scale.IMG_0288  The horizontal chrome effect on the lower part of the frontage is recreated using light bluish grey plates with rails.  Three rows of these are separated with a row of basic black plates (2s,4s and 6s).

Above these are a row of black profile bricks (also referred to as grill IMG_0286bricks).  These bricks are very useful, as they have vertical markings on one side and horizontal markings on the other.  I use these bricks in several of my models to add texture.

The three tiled columns form the rest of the lower part of the model.  For these I use basic SNOT techniques (not being rude – this stands for Studs Not On Top, find out more here).  The basic principle of making a tiled frontage is to have bricks with knobs with two rows of plates above them; and repeat this pattern. I’ll be writing a more detailed post about tiling techniques soon.  I use mainly 4 and 1 stud bricks (2s are really IMG_6634expensive for some reason) and vary the pattern to avoid weakspots.  Most of the frontage is tiled with 2×2 Tan tiles mounted on this base.

The central column in the main window area is a 1 x 5 Tan brick.   These come with either hollow or solid studs, so I need to make sure it’s a hollow stud one so that it can fit onto the bottom of the plate above.

At the bottom of the column brick is a ‘jumper’ plate.  The jumper is pretty much indispensable in Lego Architecture; allowing you to have a half-way point between the studs on more traditional bricks and plates.  So here, it allows me to centre the column in a space that is 14 studs wide.  I use jumper plates in almost every model I make.  I explain more about how I make use of these trusty friends in this separate post.

The trusty Jumper

The door is basically constructed the same way as the main tiled parts with bricks with knobs and plates.  But to get the handles and ‘portholes’ attached I use pieces that are part tile/ part plate – that is, they have a stud at each end, with the rest being smooth.  The rest of the door is black 2×2 and 2×4 tiles.

The top of the model is finished off with inverted 2×2 Tan slopes with more tan tiles on top.  You can get more detailed instructions about building the lobster here.  I’ll cover the signage in a separate post, but please let me know if you need any more information.


You can buy the Rogano model here (when it’s in stock).

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