All parents know this toy created in 1987 by a Dutchman, and many have tried to build the tallest Kapla tower possible in their living room.
For four scouts from Grenoble, the reality exceeded the dream: they worked for four days to build their tower, which was officially measured at 18.76 meters this weekend. The previous record, set in Lyon in 2016, was 18.40 meters, according to organizers. The feat took place in the new climbing hall in Mulhouse, the highest in France, which has a wall 25 meters high. The young builders thus climbed along the climbing wall, roped, to accumulate 11,200 Kapla, over 133 floors.
The building was not built at random: the builders started with a hexagon in the center and three branches forming a Y, a guarantee of solidity.
Trained for months
“We all did when we were little,” said Jonathan Wild, 15, one of the four manufacturers. “We inquired about the record, how they did it, with how many Kaplas. We realized that it was doable and we said to ourselves why not embark on this crazy project.”
“With the weight, the whole architecture holds up well”, emphasizes Antoine Piollat, scout leader of the Saint-Jean Group in Grenoble. “The higher you go, the more solid the base. Then on the top, the tower becomes thinner. Once the tower is finished, it weighs more than 120 kilos.”
The four builder scouts had been training for months, with towers several meters high, to set the record.
“We put the Kapla in cycles of one or two hours depending on the shape of each”, continues Jonathan Wild. “It’s quite physical, but you get used to it. Everything is done to make our life easier. We have small harnesses that allow you to be as if you were seated, which makes less physical effort.”
The initial objective of more than 21 meters, revised downwards
Small setback, some of the thousands of Kapla made available by two local toy libraries were a little damaged or poorly calibrated. The last meters of construction therefore posed a problem and the initial objective of more than 21 meters had to be revised down a little.
And after all these efforts, the highlight of the weekend was of course the destruction of the tower on Sunday June 27. In front of several dozen people, the builders attached two long wires to the base of the tower, which they pulled to make the building collapse with a loud crash, in three seconds …