Lexus [pt 2/2] @ Salone Milan 2017

Lexus [pt 2/2] @ Salone Milan 2017

The Lexus YET exhibition was held at La Triennale di Milano, the Design and Art Museum in Parco Sempione, Milan.

This event marked the tenth edition for Lexus International at Milan Design Week, highlighting the brand’s long standing passion for design and innovation

Lexus’ Design Week was a celebration of industrial design through the Lexus’ lens with projects that sparked your imagination and immersed you in a world of next-level creativity.

In addition to the Lexus Design Award 2017 display, the LEXUS YET exhibition was composed of three areas where visitors experienced the exciting and infinite potential of YET through immersive and engaging installations.



The Lexus Design Event space was divided into four distinct areas, arranged to follow the naturally curved shape of the museum, encouraging visitors to navigate their own design journey.

The installation explores new frontiers in design, digital technology and fabrication, reflecting the Lexus ethos of brave design and ‘takumi’ craftsmanship.



Ancient Yet Modern

To celebrate this significant juncture, Lexus enlisted the cooperation of Architect, Designer and Professor Neri Oxman of the MIT Media Lab and her research and design team, The Mediated Matter Group, whose mission is to research at the intersection of computational design, digital fabrication, materials science and synthetic biology and apply that knowledge to design across scales from the micro scale to the building scale.

An acclaimed creative pioneer operating at the leading edge of architecture and design, Neri Oxman is known for design innovation that is inspired and informed by the natural world.

Oxman’s vision of harmonizing “nature” and its seeming opposite “technology” resonates strongly with the Lexus ‘YET’ philosophy.

Ancient Yet Modern – was a space dedicated to Neri Oxman’s future-seeking installation, where time stands still and history is reduced to a mere moment.

When you entered the space, you were greeted by a series of three glass pillars that radiate light


This ‘Ancient Yet Modern’ installation, is both grounded and balanced to the earth, yet suspended, stretching up to the stars.’”

We attempted to explore the theme of YET in different ways, through the lens of light, the lens of glass and the lens of the experience. Some of you will respond intellectually, others will respond emotionally. ”   ………. Neri Oxman




Neri and the Mediated Matter group asked …………. “How do you achieve variation in mechanical production? And how do you create new technology that controls the interior and exterior textures?”

Over the past 24 months they worked to create 3D glass printing technology that could answer these very questions.

What’s so magical about these constructs is how the light refracts through them, producing what are called “caustics,” which are the light rays reflected or refracted by a curved surface or object.

These caustics play across the ground and walls creating the feeling that you’re underwater.

Ancient yet modern, enclosing yet invisible, glass was first created in Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt 4,500 years ago.

Precise recipes for its production – the chemistry and techniques – often remain closely guarded secrets.

Glass can be molded, formed, blown, plated or sintered; its formal qualities are closely tied to techniques used for its formation.

From the discovery of core-forming process for bead-making in ancient Egypt, through the invention of the metal blow pipe during Roman times, to the modern industrial Pilkington process for making large-scale flat glass; each new breakthrough in glass technology occurred as a result of prolonged experimentation and ingenuity, and has given rise to a new universe of possibilities for uses of the material.

This Lexus YET show unveiled a first of its kind optically transparent glass printing process called G3DP – an additive manufacturing platform designed to print optically transparent glass.

The tunability enabled by geometrical and optical variation driven by form, transparency and color variation can drive; limit or control light transmission, reflection and refraction, and therefore carries significant implications for all things glass.

The platform is based on a dual heated chamber concept. The upper chamber acts as a Kiln Cartridge while the lower chamber serves to anneal the structures.

The Kiln Cartridge operates at approximately 1900°F and can contain sufficient material to build a single architectural component. The molten material gets funneled through an alumina-zircon-silica nozzle.

The project synthesizes modern technologies, with age-old established glass tools and technologies producing novel glass structures with numerous potential applications.

The G3DP project was created in collaboration between the Mediated Matter group at the MIT Media Lab, the Mechanical Engineering Department, the MIT Glass Lab and Wyss Institute. Researchers include John Klein, Michael Stern, Markus Kayser, Chikara Inamura, Giorgia Franchin, Shreya Dave, James Weaver, Peter Houk and Prof. Neri Oxman

Neri Oxman with Yoshihiro Sawa ( Lexus International President )



Ancient Yet Modern Project Background Information

The Ancient Yet Modern installation comprised of a series of 3m-tall glass columns fully manufactured with the GLASS 2 platform.

Each column’s unique and constantly changing surface is the result of continuous branching into multiple lobes to support its load.

For each, a unique network of radial arrays made of arcs; to each, a unique caustic footprint corresponding with its mechanical properties.

Given their geometric complexity and dynamic optical properties, the columns act as architecturally scaled lenses that can concentrate or disperse light from within and/or outside the glass surface.

The computational framework used to generate each column’s form is directly influenced by the constraints of the manufacturing platform and structural system, demonstrating the ability to 3D print a wide range of shapes determined by desired mechanical and optical properties.

By example, the higher the load, the greater the surface area of a column in plan view, the greater the number of lobes desired, the tighter the turning radius required for their 3D printing, and hence contributing to the geometric expression of the caustics.

Chikara Inamura from Mediated Matter Group

Each column is fitted with a dynamic internal lighting system—una stellina—programed to travel up and down the column generating a large caustic footprint with kaleidoscope-like patterns.

The caustics are the sums of light rays reflected and/or refracted dynamically by the curved surface of the printed column over the surrounding walls of the Trienniale.

Over space, each successive column introduces a more complex caustic envelope with accompanied—and subtle—shifts in sound frequencies.

Over time, each column’s light position and intensity varies, resulting in changes to the surface area, sharpness, and intensity of the caustic patterns.

Combined, the overall experience challenges the perceived boundaries between time and space.

Two dark-mirrored surfaces are mounted on the facing end walls defining the space, reflecting the row of columns and creating the illusion of an infinite array of ‘light totems’ fading into darkness…a starry night of ‘cosmic caustics.’




Static Yet Dynamic

Static Yet Dynamic, shined a spotlight on the Lexus UX Concept Car, which debuted at the Paris Motor Show last year.

The installation promotes Lexus ‘Brave Design’ – a concept that aims to explore production from differing viewpoints, in order to reach beyond the obvious, and in doing so, discover the unexpected

If Lexus ‘Brave Design’ is about being adventurous, and thinking outside of the box, this installation – a projected, interactive vision of the UX Concept Car – embodies it.

Otherworldly images of the UX shifted in and out of focus depending on the viewing angle as guests meandered through, round and underneath

The Static YET Dynamic space has at its core the Lexus UX Concept car, a progressive and strong YET artistic and premium model that enhances Lexus’ unique brand position while challenging conventional notions about luxury.

The exhibition not only reveals the UX Concept model in its elevated glory, but also allows visitors to explore the space from many angles, to see beyond the obvious, and to discover the unexpected—which is the very definition of brave design by Lexus

Lexus UX Concept car




Retrospective paused to reflect on ten fruitful years of Lexus history at Milan Design Week and its commitment to design via inventive hanging screens showcasing each years’ iteration –  highlighting the brand’s long standing passion for design and innovation.

Each years’ edition was highlighted by one moment in time through 24 frames.

Lexus has been involved in the Salone for over a decade, initially via its Lexus Design Events in which the luxury Japanese car brand commissioned renowned artists, architects and designers including Kazuyo Sejima, Nendo and Tokujin Yoshioka to explore themes such as ‘Time in Design’ or ‘Flexible but Durable’.

Themes that, in effect, express deconstructed elements of the brand’s story, reconfigured by free radical creatives of repute.




About Lexus and the YET Philosophy

Spacious yet streamlined. Exhilarating yet environmentally friendly. Sporty yet comfortable.

The Lexus design philosophy is built upon concepts like these, where ‘ YET’ is the pivot holding two seemingly conflicting elements together in harmony.


It’s a simple concept with an ever-extending reach. When you think about it from a broader perspective, you notice instances of “YET” happening throughout our lives. ”  ……..Spiros Fotinos  ( global head of brand management and global marketing at Lexus International.)


Despite these tricky nuances, creating a successful ‘yet’ archetype seems to come quite naturally to Lexus.

The idea of ‘yet’ influences not only the products Lexus produces, but the events they curate and the way they work.

In other words, ‘yet’ is built into their DNA.

It makes perfect sense that this year’s Lexus Design Award has chosen Yet as it’s over arching theme.

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