5 Style couldn’t miss the Milan Design Week 2015, the world’s biggest design event. As a brand that places great emphasis on the senses, both in its design process and when creating cars that offer true driving pleasure, Lexus invited us to a wide-ranging and exciting sensory experience: the Lexus Design Award, a journey of the sense.
Senses are intrinsic to life: they are what allow us to perceive the world. Taking this purposefully broad theme, considering seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling and tasting, we open ourselves up to a wide range of possibilities. This theme is particularly relevant to Lexus, as the whole driving experience is about senses: from seeing the striking exterior design of our cars, to hearing the sound of our finely tuned engines and feeling the sensation of our steering wheel when you round a corner. Everything is engaged.
SPACE DESIGN CONCEPT: THE UNCOMPROMISING PURSUIT OF HIDDEN BEAUTY
Lexus has always emphasised the importance of the senses to the driving experience. When space designer Philippe Nigro visited Lexus plants to see how the cars are designed and built, he was greatly impressed by how much care goes into not just the exteriors, but also into the invisible internal details. It was this insight that led him to the ‘Inside-Out’ design concept that enables visitors to experience beauty from every angle. By revealing things that are normally hidden from view, Lexus invites you to make new discoveries and have new experiences in each of the various zones.
ZONE 1: ENGAGING THE SENSES
The Lexus Concept Car is displayed to strengthen the linkage between the ‘Senses’ theme and the Lexus brand. The design of the car is emphasised by special mirrors around the inside of the cocoon that reflect the car in unexpected ways, focusing on beauty of design details and revealing lines that are normally hidden from view. Colour illumination adds still another dimension to the experience, creating a flow of motion and colour that stimulates the senses and imagination.
ZONE 2: EXPLORING THE SENSES
The Lexus Design Award 2015 zone welcomes visitors with a woody foyer that leads into the exhibit space where finalist prototypes and panels are displayed. The space has a quiet, soothing atmosphere that allows visitors to fully experience the originality and creativity of each work, and to reflect on its potential to shape the future.
The Lexus Design Award was established in 2013 to promote design and support the emergence of a new generation of creators. Offering the chance to work with a world-class designer and have a prototype realised, the award is open to everyone, and always seeks to provide themes that can be interpreted across a wide range of disciplines. This year, with the theme of ‘Senses’, it drew a total of 1,171 entries from 72 countries between August 11 and November 3, 2014. Judging was carried out on November 24, 2014, in Tokyo, where the 12 finalists were selected by a panel of judges and mentors.
ZONE 3 – SCENE 1: EXPERIENCING THE SENSES
The scene was inspired by Chef Yoneda‘s own joyful experience of driving in weather that most people would rather avoid. But in a Lexus, hurtling through the falling rain drops the driver feels exhilaration and becomes one with the natural beauty of a rainy day. Inside the cocoon, visitors experience the sight, sound and taste of life-giving rain water that evokes the pleasure of a ride in a Lexus on a rainy day.
Visitors are given ‘raindrops’ made out of sparkling candy and ushered into a darkened room. Inside, close-set ball chains around the edge of the room are illuminated to produce a startlingly realistic illusion of falling rain. As the raindrops in the visitors’ mouths dissolves, it produces a sparkling and refreshing sensation that mimics the feeling and sound of falling rain.
ZONE 3 – SCENE 2: EXPERIENCING THE SENSES
In this scene, Chef Yoneda takes inspiration from the Lexus cockpit. It is a scene that envisions the beauty of nature from the inside out, enveloping the visitor with the same sense of comfort, liberation and unity with nature that can be experienced from within the Lexus cabin.
The ‘life force of a tree’, wrapped in cacao butter, is given to visitors as they enter an all-white room which seems to extend without limit in all directions. As visitors bite through the cacao butter wrapping, the aroma of fresh, verdant greenery washes over their senses. The floor is patterned with circles like the growth rings of a tree. As visitors hear the quiet sounds of a forest around them, they realize they are experiencing the beauty of a tree from the inside out.
ZONE 3 – SCENE 3: EXPERIENCING THE SENSES
As the culmination of this journey of the senses, this scene evokes the sense of warm hospitality experienced by Lexus drivers. Chef Yoneda respects the Lexus commitment to excellence in car-making, and the spirit of hospitality that is an expression of progressive luxury for the senses. He infuses the scene with this Lexus Hospitality using light and warmth, and as visitors drink warm soup while looking down on Earth from the darkness of outer space, they experience the sense of comfort and warmth that hospitality gives to us all. The experience also reflects the Lexus commitment to our planet‘s future, and its premium-brand leadership in hybrid technology, environmental performance and industry-leading sustainability.
When visitors enter this beautiful universe with stars twinkling in the darkness, they are served a bowl of ‘Earth soup’. Made from the life-giving essence of vegetables, meat and fish, the soup seems to glow from within as its warmth spreads through their bodies.
In the centre of the room, a table glows with the same warmth, and as the visitors approach it, they realize that it represents the ingredients of the soup and the life force of Earth itself.
The Lexus vision is to pursue more modern and progressive values for luxury than those of conventional luxury automakers. Lexus is striving to create a more rewarding experience with the car as well as through such technological advancements as “Lexus Hybrid DriveTM” in its efforts to solve numerous issues that have surfaced in the modern world.
Lexus believes in the future – and in creating products and delivering services that will make a better life and future for all of us.