For Milan Design Week 2016, Amsterdam based, Italian design duo Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin aka Formafantasma teamed up with Lexus to launch an exciting exhibition made up of 3 installations, entitled ‘An Encounter with Anticipation’.
‘Anticipation and transparency’, the theme of the installation, conveys the aesthetics behind Lexus’ forward-looking vision through subtle nuances of colour, light and form.
These themes include the development and evolution of ecological technology for application in mobility, as well as the fusion of machine and craftsmanship.
The exhibition was held at the industrial interiors space of Lexus – Torneria in Milan, a former metal factory.
The space was softly illuminated using several light boxes referencing traditional Japanese architecture and the origins of the Lexus brand.
The exhibition combines contemporary finishes — like car paint, cast resin and stainless steel — with traditional materials like cotton fabric and pine wood.
Translucent walls and doors inspired made from paper fixed over a lattice frame of wood allow light to pass through (by Japanese shoji) were used throughout the exhibition space.
This reflects an age-old Japanese aesthetic and also reveals shadows or shapes of people outside the room, allowing one to anticipate a guest’s arrival and prepare to welcome them in the spirit of OMOTENASHI.
The event led the visitor to discover the essence of craftsmanship of the Japanese brand, observing how technology and the stylistic approach are translated into an experience which is both aesthetic and emotional: anticipating the dreams and social demands, the exhibition conveys the way Lexus imagines the future, giving the public new form able to surprise and amaze.
In the first and largest space, Formafantasma draws from the LEXUS LF-FC concept by using advanced hydrogen fuel cell technology to power a kinetic light installation.
Ranging in height from 2 to 6 meters, the four stainless steel sculptural objects move slowly, creating a subtle choreography atop a highly reflective pink platform they are situated on. tanks located under the platform supply the hydrogen used by the fuel cell stacks to produce electricity to illuminate the kinetic lights.
The second space, which hosts the annual LEXUS design award, features a series of 16 metal stools whose simple form highlights their glossy finish — the same paint process applied to the LF-FC automobile.
The technique involves a sophisticated method of layering colours by hand and a machine that is based on traditional Japanese lacquering techniques, resulting in a subtle, yet complex tone that appears either dark grey or blue depending on the light of the surrounding environment.
Finally, after visiting Lexus’ headquarters in japan, Formafantasma decided to base the design of the installation for the third space on the brand’s heritage, which can be traced back to Japan’s early mechanized textile industry.
In homage to these early roots, a loom-like machine pulls and releases thousands of threads that, when stretched, recreate a three-dimensional outline of the LF-FC.
Placed in the centre of a room with walls inspired by Japanese shoji, the floating image of the concept car takes shape in an unexpected way.
Culinary Partnership – Yoji Tokuyoshi
In keeping with Lexus’ tradition of supporting talents in a diverse range of creative fields, the exhibition space also hosts a food tasting by one of Milan’s most celebrated chefs and the creative force at the Ristorante Tokuyoshi, Chef Yoji Tokuyoshi.
To compliment the physical designs of the installation, Tokuyoshi brings an impressive experience to bear on the project, through two culinary creations based on the theme of water.
Tokuyoshi focused on the fact that the only waste product produced by the technology is water.
He also sought to capture the spirit of Omotenashi, the finest qualities of Japanese hospitality that Lexus references in the design of its luxury vehicles.
“ Looking at the LF-FC concept car and getting to understand how the fuel cell makes use of hydrogen energy, I came to realise how Lexus envisions this as the right technology for the future. So I decided to make water the motif to create something amazing that can be integrated into the installation .” ……. Yoji Tokuyoshi
Creation 1 – Buoyancy
The first tasting experience Lexus’s visitors will enjoy is “Buoyancy”, which expresses the energy water has, both to sustain life and to carry objects over vast distances.
The dish uses water and a floating herbal leaf to deliver a surprising taste sensation.
Creation 2 – Transparency
Tokuyoshi’s second creation for Lexus is “Transparency”.
Here he uses ingredients to produce a dish that can serve as a metaphor for something that might be seen, or remain imperceptible, depending on the viewer’s perspective.
What might appear at first to be a clear soup in fact delivers a unique, delightful and unexpected experience for the palate.
The concept echoes the way Lexus envisions how the future might deliver experiences that excite and surprise.
Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin are Studio Formafantasma, an Italian designer duo based in Amsterdam.
Since graduating the Design Academy Eindhoven in 2009, they have developed a coherent body of work characterized by experimental materials investigations and explored such issues as the relationship between tradition and local culture, critical approaches to sustainability and the significance of objects as cultural conduits.
In distinguishing their role as a link between craft, industry, object and user, they are interested in forging links between their research-based practice and a wider design industry and as a result have been commission by a variety of partners.
Their work has been published internationally as well as a multiple of museums all over the world have all acquired Fromafantasma’s designs for their permanent collections.
About the Yoji Tokuyoshi
Yoji Tokuyoshi is unanimously recognized as one of the most innovative chefs in Milan
Born in Japan, he studied the kitchen in his home country before making the move to Italy where he commenced work at the Modena based restaurant, Osteria Francescana, where he worked as the Sous Chef alongside restaurateur and head chef Massimo Bottura.
During his 10 years at Osteria Francescana, the restaurant earnt its 2nd and 3rd Michelin stars and became globally recognised, being listed in the top 5 at The World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards since 2010.
Osteria Francescana was ranked 2nd World’s Best Restaurant at the S.Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards 2015.
Yoji left Osteria Francescana in 2014 to travel the world in search of a location to open up his own restaurant.
After visiting countless countries and cities, Yoji opened Ristorante Tokuyoshi in Milan.
Ristorante Tokuyoshi is based on a new idea: “Cucina Italian Wasteland “, a unique reinterpretation of Italian gastronomic tradition.
The counter in the heart of the new restaurant allows diners to be in direct contact with the chefs – mirroring the great restaurants of Japan.
The technique and creativity of Tokuyoshi offer a unique culinary experience and as a result, the restaurant received its first Michelin star, just 10 months after opening its doors.