If and when the car manufacturers of the future decide to conduct a “fashion show” for their cars, then by all considerations, the electric Lexus LF-Z must be a “shoe-in” for the catwalk.
That is, if this hyped Lexus luxury concept car does actually roll out into production. You see, concept cars are probably the most fun part in the creation of automobiles. Even the experts at the Car Design Yearbook Awards would say that, in contrast to production models, no hard-and-fast rules hamper car conception. When the mind’s the limit, even the sky would seem claustrophobic. But when mind becomes matter, and the reality of cost and physics sets in, many concepts are forever committed to the dustbins of the forgotten. Still, as the original Car Design Yearbook portrays, many concept cars eventually find their way to showrooms and become street staples.
So, what are the chances of the Lexus LF-Z Electric going into actual production? Your guess is as good as mine. But knowing Lexus, I’d probably bet on it making this car for real.
Consider this: Lexus has always taken pride in its luxury label, consistently raising the bar in this department. To be able to sustain this global reputation, it collaborates even with like minds outside of the automotive sphere.
This time, Lexus partnered with award-winning footwear designer Salehe Bembury, digital artist Ondrej Zunka, and Japanese fashion label Hender Scheme to bring virtually rendered interiors in the LF-Z Electrified Concept Car’s virtual interior series. This collaboration celebrates the world premiere of the LF-Z Electrified, a battery electric concept vehicle symbolizing the brand’s next chapter.
For this undertaking, Bembury uses colors inspired by sandstone landscapes and other natural tones, setting aside what has been traditionally futuristic in favor of natural materials like cedar, cork and granite. These 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, Bembury has pushed the envelope of what design can be in terms of material selection, silhouette and storytelling,” said Brian Bolain, general manager at Lexus International. “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.”
Zunka’s take on the LF-Z Electrified features space-age mechanisms, sci-fi materials and multidimensional hues transcending time and space. “This interior design is purely speculative, so I allowed for free associations and pure imagination and creativity,” said 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.”
Hender Scheme imagines an entirely leather interior juxtaposed with the concept vehicle’s groundbreaking technology. The untreated, organic material would 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.
I searched online for more information about Hender Scheme, and found out that the brand produces both genuine leather (cow-leather material) and faux leather Japanese school bags, among other things.
And since we’re just talking about concepts here, perhaps I may add my own “lightbulb moment” for Lexus’ earnest efforts into an electric, sustainable mobility future: How nice—and so very uniquely human—it would be to round up a future driven by technology, sustainability, and compassion, where no other sentient being would have to suffer for the sake of creativity. Indeed, for every application requiring genuine leather, faux leather could very well fit the bill as nicely.
The LF-Z Electrified Virtual Interior series has been conceived as a platform for collaboration, bringing 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.
When the electric LF-Z does eventually find itself in Lexus showrooms, the world of luxury automobiles would by then see the bar set to an unprecedented level once more.