Lexus Offers New York Shoppers Hospitality-Focused Experience Space

Lexus Offers New York Shoppers Hospitality-Focused Experience Space
Automotive

Intersect By Lexus is designed to provide a cultural destination for visitors, combining dining, retail and event programming to communicate brand values through experiences and storytelling

Dave Pinter, PSFK
  • 30 november 2018

The automotive industry is edging closer to a time when traditional marketing and sales platforms like auto shows and dealerships could become irrelevant. The continued transition to electrification and autonomy could have people forgo ownership for shared use. Electric vehicles, much less mechanically complex than internal combustion engine vehicles, require less service and could have longer operating lifespans.

Auto brands are therefore considering new formats to communicate their brand stories physically. MINI, for example, set up A/D/O in Brooklyn as a hub for design and innovation that also incorporates co-working, dining and retail. The automaker is rumored to be considering a sister A/D/O location in Shanghai.

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INTERSECT BY LEXUS is another initiative by a major auto brand to foster engagement through experiences, with an emphasis on hospitality in particular. Lexus has built these spaces around the idea of omotenashi, anticipating and taking care of guests needs with the goal of providing an exceptional experience.

The third global location opened in mid-November 2018 in New York CIty’s Meatpacking District. Spanning 16,500 square feet and occupying an entire three-story building, it’s the largest location to date following Tokyo and Dubai. All three INTERSECT BY LEXUS locations were designed by Tokyo-based Wonderwall led by Masamichi Katayama. It isn’t hard to spot some of Wonderwall’s design fingerprints at the NYC location when comparing it with the Samsung Experience space it also designed just around the corner.

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Kirk Edmondson, general manager for INTERSECT BY LEXUS—NYC, gave PSFK a quick tour of the Manhattan location just prior to the public opening. Just inside the doors and up a few stairs is the first-floor cafe, a casual hangout area serviced by a counter on the left.

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On the adjacent wall is the CRAFTED FOR LEXUS retail collection, where the products offered for sale are sourced to represent the Japanese phrase Takumi, meaning “artisan.” This fine craftsmanship approach is also represented in the design of the entire interior space and is a characteristic Lexus strives for in its vehicles.

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At the back of the first floor is the public gallery. This space will host rotating exhibitions and installations, the first of which is a sustainable fashion show featuring the Circular Capsule Collection (C3). The garments on display are from the 2017-2018 CFDA + Lexus Fashion* Initiative program’s five finalists (Studio 189, Cienne, Whit, M.Patmos, St. Roche).

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Each of the pieces was produced with Cradle2Cradle Certified Millennium Nature yarn and is offered for sale. The first automotive-related exhibit will follow, featuring the Lexus LF-1 Limitless Future Concept Vehicle.

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There aren’t many direct Lexus vehicle references designed into the interior—the most recognizable is the parts wall that extends up the stairway to the second floor. The permanent installation is a 3D collage of Lexus auto parts arranged in a timeline from earliest at the bottom to newest at the top.

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The second floor is home to a fine dining restaurant and cocktail bar. Rather than offer a set menu, the restaurant will host the Global Chefs-in-Residence program with the aim to introduce a new dining concept from a different chef every four to six months. Both the restaurant and bar are managed by Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, which will also select the chefs the kitchen.

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The cocktail bar was designed to mimic the shape of a wheel and axle. There are other subtle Lexus touches as well: The bar is wrapped in the same black leather that was specified for the LFA supercar interior. Carbon fiber was used to make the bar tabletops similar to the LFA’s chassis and body panels.

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The adjacent lounge offers a place to enjoy a drink with friends or browse a book from a selection on the library wall. The windows are screened with custom wood lattice panels that reference the shape of the Lexus logo. The geometric pattern of the carpeting is a nod to the spindle grille, a distinctive feature on all current model Lexus vehicles.

A large private gallery occupies most of the third floor. This space will host special events such as performances, panel discussions and film screenings. One of the first major events for the space is a design exhibition planned to coincide with NYCxDesign spanning May 2019. PSFK also took a peek at a private office for Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota Motor Corporation, stocked with racing memorabilia and a custom sound system for use during his visits to NYC.

INTERSECT BY LEXUS is designed to be a unique cultural space where ideas and people converge first and foremost, emphasizing hospitality, community and creativity over an automotive-first approach. Instead, it lets the brand tell its story through immersive experiences.

INTERSECT BY LEXUS

The automotive industry is edging closer to a time when traditional marketing and sales platforms like auto shows and dealerships could become irrelevant. The continued transition to electrification and autonomy could have people forgo ownership for shared use. Electric vehicles, much less mechanically complex than internal combustion engine vehicles, require less service and could have longer operating lifespans.

+Automotive
+bar
+brand activation & immersion
+Cafe & Restaurant
+experiential
+Food
+immersive
+Lexus
+Luxury
+new york
+retail
+Shopper education & assistance
+shopper marketing & promotions
+store experience & design

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