Designs imagined by footwear designer Salehe Bembury, artist Ondrej Zunka and fashion label Hender Scheme reflect on the automotive marque’s heritage and future
PLANO, Texas (April 20, 2021)-To celebrate the world premiere of the LF-Z Electrified, a battery electric concept vehicle symbolizing the brand’s next chapter, Lexus has partnered with three pioneering artists and designers to re-imagine the latest concept car’s interior. Star footwear designer Salehe Bembury, digital artist Ondrej Zunka and Japanese fashion label Hender Scheme bring virtually rendered interiors that reflect Lexus’ continued dedication to accelerating its electrified future.
Conceived as a platform for collaboration, the LF-Z Electrified Virtual Interior series brings together ambitious and innovative talent across a range of creative practices. The program introduces a new approach to design, a synergy between art, fashion, lifestyle, and technology that challenges the status quo of the automotive space. The collective of creatives, handpicked by Lexus, exemplifies the different aspects of Lexus’ core principles: future-inspired design, Japanese heritage and takumi craftsmanship, and an enhanced human-machine connection.
“LF-Z Electrified embodies the future of the Lexus brand, so it is exciting to see that future represented by such diverse talent across the design space,” says Brian Bolain, general manager at Lexus International. “Each of the collaborators brings a fresh energy that not only reinterprets the interior of the LF-Z but also examines the themes of Lexus’ next chapter.”
Salehe Bembury: blending future aesthetic with organic materials and bright colors
Kicking off the series is award-winning footwear designer Salehe Bembury, whose interior design concept embraces the future. Bringing his nature-inspired design approach to the LF-Z Electrified, Bembury conceptualized a virtual interior that blends both a futuristic aesthetic with organic materials alongside his signature use of bright color.
“I want this car to feel like a seamless juxtaposition of machine and nature,” says Bembury. “Equally utilizing the function of the machine and the benefits and nature to fuel and nurture the passengers to their destination.”
The concept uses colors inspired by sandstone landscapes and other natural tones, setting aside traditionally futuristic materials in favor of natural materials like cedar, cork and granite. These natural materials sit alongside textiles and patterns that reference Bembury’s background in sneaker design, such as a “hairy” suede used on the seatbacks, and a fingerprint motif that is often found in the designer’s work, applied here for a personalized control panel.
“Just as he has done with footwear, Salehe has pushed the envelope of what design can be in terms of material selection, silhouette and storytelling,” says Bolain. “He is one of the most exciting designers in the sneaker space right now, and he embodies the bold thinking and energy that we see in Lexus’ future.”
Ondrej Zunka: seamlessly embracing future technologies rooted in thoughtful consideration
Forgoing traditional notions of car design and transporting the Lexus LF-Z Electrified further into the future, Ondrej Zunka’s concept car features space-age mechanisms, sci-fi materials and multidimensional hues that transcend both time and space. “This interior design is purely speculative so I allowed for free associations and pure imagination and creativity,” says Zunka. “I wanted to make the interior feel as if it wasn’t made by humans, but maybe designed by a sophisticated artificial intelligence. I wanted to go past any known language and design concepts and forget about what is usually used in automotive interior design.”
Looking at Lexus’ commitment to intuitive technology, Zunka, through the lens of his digital art practice, renders a virtual interior that pushes the boundaries of functionality and design. The tech-forward interior imagines intelligent lighting along the car’s panels that emit an entirely visceral sensation that subtly regulates mood. Translucent silicone seat cushions with memory foam-like properties and a panoramic ceiling, crafted from brushed chrome, complete Zunka’s hyper-futuristic vision for the Lexus LF-Z Electrified.
Hender Scheme: leather craftsmanship rooted in Japanese heritage
With their deep focus on the natural material characteristics of leather, Tokyo-based fashion label Hender Scheme was a natural fit to reflect Lexus’ Japanese heritage and takumi craftsmanship. For their LF-Z Electrified virtual interior, Hender Scheme imagines an entirely leather interior juxtaposed with the concept vehicle’s groundbreaking technology. The untreated, organic material will develop a “patina” over time, deepening in color and becoming unique to each vehicle. The concept reflects the passage of time and the driver’s relationship to the vehicle.
In a process that mirrors the 60,000 hours of experience required of a Lexus takumi craftsman, the design is rooted in the work of specialty craftsmen from Asakusa, Tokyo. At the beginning of the process, leather requires trained eyes to identify its natural material characteristics for use on the project such as thickness and elasticity. From there, molding methods would be introduced to shape the leather to the roof, doors and dashboard, beautifully finishing these sculptural parts.
Lexus launched in 1989 with a flagship sedan and a guest experience that helped define the premium automotive industry. In 1998, Lexus introduced the luxury crossover category with the launch of the Lexus RX. The luxury hybrid sales leader, Lexus delivered the world’s first luxury hybrid and has since sold over 1.5 million hybrid vehicles.
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