The rear-drive LS 500 offers a handling package as well.
Lexus LFAs are starting to show up on the used market for less than their original price, which hints the Japanese supercar might become more a little more accessible. So far, you still need over $ 300,000 to get one, though.
The Lexus Design Awards, which began four years ago, puts forth a noble and valuable effort to search for valid ideas worth nurturing. Teaming up young designers with successful and thoughtful designer mentors, the projects chosen for the awards are given careful consideration and encouragement so those with great ideas have a true chance to see their visions through. The awards have always attracted fantastic projects, but according to judge and design critic Alice Rawsthorn, this year was a little different: “In past years we would see some fantastic projects, which were perhaps designing a more sustainable version of an existing typology of product; this year, some of the proposals went way beyond that.”
The grand prize winner of the design awards were announced this Monday during Milan Design Week: AMAM, a team of three designers who met in Tokyo at Tama University of the Arts, didn’t want to just come up with a product, they wanted to find an adaptable material solution to the larger problem of disposable packaging waste. They became inspired by agar, a jelly-like substance deriving from seaweed that’s available in supermarkets across the world. “The material can be crispy, soft, porous—and these properties naturally guided us to apply it to these kinds of packaging products,” says Team AMAM. So with the help of their highly material-driven design mentor Max Lamb, they started testing and questioning the endless structural properties and capabilities of this agar material as well as its by-product, agar fiber. By freezing pure agar powder, they were able to create a substance practically indistinguishable to clear, crisp plastic. When they mixed the agar powder with the fiber by-product they were also able to create a more structured, organic looking and paper-like packaging material.
“There’s a big problem in [creating] objects that don’t last that should last, or objects that don’t last that are made of materials that last forever, and I think [AMAM] has literally just scratched the surface of what this material could do,” says Lamb. And plastics, one of the worst culprits of this, are exactly what a project like this is hoping to tackle. It is a fascinating concept, beautiful in its simplicity, that realizes the overall potential for designers to not only create beautiful objects, but also design systems and solutions that could be effectively adaptable to many different applications.
A project like AMAM wholeheartedly reflects the sentiment of young designers, which is perhaps precisely why the team ended up finding their way to the design awards grand prize. As Rawsthorn told Core77, “it’s been really heartening to see the scale of ambition that designers are wrestling with now…they’ve become much more focused on social, political, environmental and humanitarian issues. And also far bolder in the way they engage with them.”
The Design Awards resulted in three other prototype projects worth sharing:
TRACE: a clock that visualizes times through color
Developed by sister team Begum and Bike Ayaskan and mentored by the Snarkitecture team, this clock utilizes the same liquid used in photochromic “transition” lenses to create a beautiful flowing visualization of time.
DADA: a toy that is only limited by your imagination
Myungsik Jang, mentored by architecture and design duo Neri & Hu, is a wonderfully poetic project—by designing a wooden block toy with various accessories and pegs that can be used to combined blocks or even attach elements from nature, the toy is used to stimulate the child’s imagination to the fullest extent.
Shape Shifters: modular fashion
This project developed by Angelene Laura Fenuta and mentored by Elena Manferdini was a project developed as her MA Thesis in Material Futures at Central Saint Martins. It incorporates a hinge-like modular system that allows the wearer to create an endless amount of outfits simply by rearranging the pieces in different ways.
Each day our editors will roundup our favorite sights and projects from Salone Milan Design Week.
Formfantasma Visualizes Lexus’s Latest Concept Car in an Analog 3D Rendering Installation
Inspired by Lexus’s early roots in mechanized textile manufacturing, Formafantasma’s installation of the Lexus LF-FC concept car is essentially a waterfall of string strategically painted in blue to resemble the automobile’s likeness.
Lexus: An Encounter with Anticipation is on view April 12-17 at Spazio Lexus-Torneria, Via Tortuna 32.
Sculptural Self-Watering Vases by Chris Kabel for Valerie Objects
Developed for the Spanish publication The Plant, the jewel-toned glass centerpiece of Chris Kabel’s vases give the illusion of functioning as a vessel when in fact, they are drip feeding water into the base of the vase. The wire frames create a silhouette of an archetypal vase while providing support for the stems of the flowers.
Hidden Vases by Chris Kabel for Valerie Objects is on view April 12-17 at A Matter of Perception, Palazzo Litta, Corso Magenta 24.
Consumer Electronics, Simplified
The students at ECAL produced a series consumer electronic prototypes in collaboration with Swiss technology brand Punkt. Our senior editor Rain recently wrote up their retro MP 01 phone designed by Jasper Morrison to do just two things: calls and text messages. This brand ethos of functional simplicity is explored through the eight projects on show here: a wall clock, digital camera, extension socket, internet radio, flash light, tilting projector, printer and weather station.
ECAL x Punkt is on view April 12-17 at A Matter of Perception, Palazzo Litta, Corso Magenta 24.
Leatherworks that Look Like Plaster
When we first saw Damien Gernay’s dynamic sculptural forms, it was easy to admire the fluid shape and scale of the pieces (two seen above). But when we realized that the smooth surfaces and imperfect edges were crafted in leather we had to take a second look. Gernay’s experiments in leather highlight the beauty of plaster tools. He told Core77, “I wanted to work with one tool to make different shapes…these look simple, like a plate and this traditional tool is used to shape plaster.” Gernay worked with gypsum to sculpt the forms and then created resin forms to support the final shape of the sculptures. The work is made in collaboration with one of the oldest luxury leather houses in the world—Delvaux—and highlights the artistry and sensuousness of the work and material.
Gypsum Disorder by Damien Gernay is part of Belgium is Design, on view April 12-17 at A Matter of Perception, Palazzo Litta, Corso Magenta 24.
Legends in Conversation
The magic of Milan is the opportunity to speak with designers in person about their work. At a special talk in the courtyard of Palazzo Litta, Italian design legends Michele de Lucchi and Andrea Branzi spoke about their work, design education and their exhibition CAOS with the editors of DAMN magazine.
See more design talks and interviews April 12-17 at A Matter of Perception, Palazzo Litta, Corso Magenta 24.
Weaving as Architecture
We’re huge fans of Dutch fiber artist Mae Engelgeer’s hypnotizing, geometric textiles in a perfect palette of muted colors. Here she creates architectural panels through a series of large-scale, three-dimensional weavings.
Mae Engelgeer is on view April 12-17 at Masterly: The Dutch in Milano, Palazzo Francesco Turati, via Meravigli 7
The material explorations from this young Dutch duo create otherworldly textures in a rainbow of shapes and colors. Oxidation Aftermath was the graduation project of one of the co-founders Marlies van Putten and shows how the process of oxidation can shape form and color. Their Make&Mold RYB vessels are made with a flexible mold and biodegradable polymers to create bulbous forms of varying weights.
Handmade Industrials is on view April 12-17 at Masterly: The Dutch in Milano, Palazzo Francesco Turati, via Meravigli 7
The chilling tree at Superstudio Più
Many people gathered today to relax under this kaleidoscopic sight at Superstudio Più, which was a collaborative installation between 3M and architect Stefano Boeri.
Superstudio Più is on view April 12-17 at Via Tortona 27
Lexus’s new Multi Stage Hybrid System combines gas-electric newness with old transmission tech in search of a more connected driving experience.
Our reviewer had incredible access to development mules of the upcoming LC 500 to see first-hand how Lexus will take the fight to the Germans.
The Lexus GS gets a number of enhancements for the 2016 model year, including a turbocharged 200t model. The updated sedan debuts in California as part of Monterey Car Week.
Following rumors that Lexus has been working on a small crossover to slot below the RX (pictured), Automotive News Europe reports that the production-ready CUV will bow at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show next March. Later this year, Lexus will preview this new crossover by way of a concept car at the Tokyo Motor Show in November.
According to the report, this new crossover will be a hybrid, and will ride on the smaller architecture that underpins the Toyota RAV4. Specific details have not been confirmed, but AN states that the entry-level CUV will be powered by the same 2.5-liter gasoline-electric drivetrain found in the Lexus ES 300h. Since Toyota will evidently be taking the time to hybridize the platform, we can’t help but assume that it will eventually build a second-gen RAV4 EV.
Either way, with the small luxury CUV segment heating up, Lexus is likely smart to offer a player in this space. Until now, there has not been a Lexus crossover below the RX, and this new model will compete with other new players in the class including the BMW X1 and Audi Q3.