Earlier this year, Lexus ushered in a new chapter with the reveal of the Lexus LF-Z Electrified concept car — but the brand didn’t stop there. Equipped with momentum surrounding the importance of not just electrification, but also design, the Japanese luxury carmaker extends the conversation to unexpected corners of culture by inviting designer Salehe Bembury, artist and 3D designer Ondrej Zunka and the label Hender Scheme to create virtual interiors for the concept car. Continuing to champion creativity in all realms and pioneer the intersection of various medium with automotive design, HYPEBEAST and the brand facilitated a virtual conversation with Bembury, Zunka and Koichi Suga, the general manager of Lexus Design Division. Taking place in four different time zones, the discussion covered the future of automotive design, how to meet the changing needs of conscious consumers and the overlap of creativity across various industries.
Anchored by the spirit of the LF-Z Electrified concept car, which symbolizes a new era for Lexus, Suga spoke to the importance of pushing the boundaries of technology and design in the automotive space. “When I drove the prototype for the LF-Z Electrified, it was a different feeling from the ordinary engine car,” he says. “That reminded me that I need to express a more organic driving impression by design and styling.” That’s evident in the car’s smooth proportions and thoughtful details that set it apart from other EVs. It was also revealed that he has more in common with Bembury, who has held positions at influential fashion houses including Versace and YEEZY, than one might expect. Suga shared how his parents’ careers in fashion informed his work in car design and, in fact, the first designer sketch he ever saw was a gift to his mother and father from the legendary Issey Miyake. The fashion influences he saw growing up continue to inform his design work now. “It taught me how important it is to make quality,” he explains. “My parents made our clothes as a child. If I compare [store bought clothes] with what my parents made, it’s totally different quality.”
Having created virtual interiors for the LF-Z Electrified, Bembury got a first-hand take on automotive design. Through working with Lexus, he too discovered that the overlap between fashion and cars is not far off. “I thought that within the different realms of design, there would be different languages or jargons, but to hear Suga-san say words like evolution, sustainability, next chapter and emotion — those are all words that I use within footwear and fashion design,” he says. “It’s fascinating to see that we’re striving to achieve the same goal.”
With a similar mindset as Bembury and Suga, artist and 3D designer Ondrej Zunka offered his take on the critical role that creative talents play in getting consumers to think outside of what they know. “I feel like we often have tunnel vision,” he says. “I tried to bring an element of surprise and subvert the expectations of how a car should look. I think that’s something that encourages critical thinking and new solutions to problems.” It is this shared approach that has allowed Lexus to move the needle in the automotive and electrification spaces. By opening up the category to unexpected creative minds and facilitating cross-industry dialogues, the brand continues its ascension as it heads into the future.
Watch the full conversation in the video above, then check out the Lexus LF-Z Electrified virtual interiors created by Salehe Bembury, Ondrej Zunka and Hender Scheme. To immerse yourself even further in this new chapter of Lexus, head to the brand’s Instagram page to experience its AR filter.