Traditional Japanese Handcrafts Adorn Flagship Lexus Sedan Interior
Centuries-old glass cutting and fabric pleating techniques are given a modern design twist
The 2018 Lexus LS500 sedan interior isn’t a literal Japanese teahouse, but that’s a comparison the automaker is using to describe the character of the cabin space. Lexus is playing up Japanese influences of the fifth generation of the car that first established the brand back in 1989.
The design of the new flagship model adopted omotenashi, roughly translated to describe the Japanese way of offering hospitality that goes beyond a person’s expectations. The LS500 will be available with an Executive Interior Package that includes surface treatments inspired by traditional Japanese handcrafts. We attended a design brief Lexus held in Brooklyn and got see the interior first hand.
Kiriko is an old technique in which patterns are hand cut into glass. The pieces on each of the door panels are a modern interpretation of the craft, with the pattern designed to extend the visual flow of the dashboard. Prototype pieces were made by hand and will be high-res scanned and replicated for production. The aim is to retain the subtle irregularities that a machine cut wouldn’t make to honor the art’s origins.
The door panels are also embellished with pleated fabric inspired by origami. The use of a thicker fabric and the change in scale of the pattern took a few years of development to get right.
Lexus brought origami artist Coco Sato to the event to show her work and lead a demo of a specific origami challenge.
Lexus has created an internal guild of master craftsmen called ‘takumi.’ Part of their application to the program is to fold an origami cat from a piece of paper using their non-dominant hand only. The test is timed and must be completed within 90 seconds. We tried it—and it’s not easy.
Images: Lexus | Dave Pinter