In 2016 Formafantasma has been invited to curate 'Anticipation', the Lexus1 brand presentation at the Salone del Mobile di Milano. The Studio interpreted this theme through the identification of elements within the company's products that will be fundamental for the future: ecological technologies in mobility, and the fusion of machine, craftsmanship, and tradition. Drawing inspiration from the new Lexus LF – FC flagship concept, Formafantasma designed three site – specific installations that respond to the architecture of the location, a former metal factory.
In the first and largest space, the Studio applies advanced hydrogen fuel cell technology similar to that of the LF – FC to power a kinetic light installation. Formafantasma designed four pieces in stainless steel – ranging in height from 2 to 6 meters – that move slowly, creating a subtle choreography. The sculptural objects are mounted on a highly reflective pink platform. At the same time, tanks located beneath it supply the hydrogen used by the "Hydrogen fuel cell stacks" to produce electricity to lit the kinetic lights. The room also hosts a food tasting by the Michelin – starred, Japanese – born, Milan – based chef Yoji Tokuyoshi. The Studio collaborated with Chef Tokuyoshi on the theme of water, since it is one of the hydrogen – richest elements in nature and the only byproduct emitted by a hydrogen fuel cell technology.
The second space, which hosts the annual Lexus Design Award (a competition for emerging talents in the design field), features a series of metal stools, whose simple form highlights their finish. Formafantasma uses the same paint process applied to the LF – FC. It involves a sophisticated method of layering colours by hand and machine that is based on traditional Japanese lacquering techniques. The result is a subtle, yet complex tone that appears either dark grey or blue depending on how light touches it.
After visiting Lexus in Japan and learning more about the company, the Studio based the design of the installation for the third space on Lexus' legacy, which can be traced back to Japan's early mechanised textile industry. As a homage to these beginnings, a loom-like machine pulls and releases thousands of threads that, when stretched, recreate a three-dimensional outline of the LF – FC.
In terms of materials, the installations mix contemporary finishes, such as car paint, cast resin and stainless steel, with more traditional materials such as cotton fabric and pine wood. The industrial interiors of the space are softly illuminated using several lightboxes referencing traditional Japanese architecture.
Notes, References and External Links
1. Lexus is the luxury vehicle division of the Japanese automaker Toyota. The Lexus brand is marketed in more than 70 countries and territories worldwide and is Japan's largest – selling make of premium cars. It has ranked among the 10 largest Japanese global brands in market value. Lexus is headquartered in Nagoya, Japan.
CONCEPT, DESIGN Andrea Trimarchi, Simone Farresin
DEVELOPMENT Francesco Zorzi, Daniele Misso, Federica Pellazza
PRODUCTION Lexus, Massimo Lunardon, Federico Gregorutti, Ares
FOOD Yoji Tokuyoshi
PHOTO CREDITS Giuseppe Brancato
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