An Encounter with Anticipation by Formafantasma for Lexus Design Event | #Milantrace2016
Milantrace-2016-Sponsor-Footer

Lexus Sensing Innovation Milan Design Week 2016 | #MILANTRACE2016
‘Sensing Innovation’ space at 
Lexus Design Event 2016. Inspired by the hydrogen-powered LF-FC, the installation by Formafantasma used advanced hydrogen fuel cell technology to light a kinetic sculpture inspired by the shape of a hydrogen atom, anticipating a future with clean technology that generates electricity while producing clear water as its only emission.

Lexus Buoyancy Milan Design Week 2016 | #MILANTRACE2016
Lexus Buoyancy Milan Design Week 2016 | #MILANTRACE2016


Clear water then becomes the inspiration for culinary treats, as Chef Yoji Tokuyoshi integrates water’s buoyancy and transparent properties to create a unique taste experience served with the spirit of Japanese hospitality. His first dish presents nasturtium leaves topped with a sweet and sour berry paste floating on a pool of clear water. The two flavours mix in the mouth, delivering an unexpected taste experience.

Lexus-Transparent-Milan-Design-Week-2016-Yellowtrace-16
The ingredients of Chef Tokuyoshi’s other dish symbolise things that may be seen or may remain imperceptible but hint at the unexpected. As the visitors consumed the clear seafood broth, a transparent ball of natural gelatin was revealed, delivering an unanticipated treat as it fills the mouth with a fresh citrus flavour.

Lexus - Formafantasma and Yoji TOKUYOSHI - Milan Design Week 2016 | #MILANTRACE2016
Andrea Trimarchi & Simone Farresin of Formafantasma with Yoji Tokuyoshi at Lexus Design Event 2016.

 

One of the many, many reasons I love attending Milan Design Week is the opportunity to witness inspiring brand extensions and creative collaborations which take the idea of branding and market positioning to a whole new level, with the aid of super-sharp design and intelligent thinking, of course. We all know that luxury car industry is a huge and fiercely competitive business, and nothing further proves this point than the fact that many of the car brands are continuing their significant presence in Milan during Salone.

While many of these brands do a pretty sweet job at putting their best food forward, attempting to seduce, impress and inspire the design media and the attractive demographic of international, deign savvy audience, no other car brand has done a better job this year at showcasing their commitment to technology, sustainability and sensitivity which continually anticipates the needs of people and the environment, demonstrating a keen sense for forward thinking and innovation. All wrapped up in a sublime, impeccably thought out event and a series of flawless installations, thank you very much. I’m talking about Lexus, of course, who this year chose the theme of ‘Anticipation’ for their exhibit at the 2016 Salone del Mobile di Milano.

Lexus invited two of the design world’s sharpest young minds – Andrea Trimarchi & Simone Farresin of Formafantasma, to interpret the chosen theme, and they simply couldn’t have picked a better design partner for the job. Formafantasma explain –“We interpreted this theme through the identification of elements within the company’s production that will be fundamental for the future. This includes the quest to develop and further evolve ecological technology for application in mobility, and the fusion of machine, craftsmanship and tradition.”

Drawing inspiration from the new concept car, Formafantasma designed three site-specific installations that respond to the architecture of the location, a former metal factory.

 

Related Post: Milantrace Moment with Andrea Trimarchi & Simone Farresin of Formafantasma.

 

Lexus Discovering Craftsmaship Milan Design Week 2016 | Yellowtrace
Area 1 – ‘Discovering Craftsmanship‘ at 
Lexus Design Event 2016 featured a series of metal stools, whose simple form highlights their finish. Formafantasma used 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.

Lexus Revealing The Unexpected Milan Design Week 2016 | Yellowtrace
Area 2 – ‘Revealing the Unexpected’ at 
Lexus Design Event 2016. After visiting Lexus in Japan and learning more about the company, the designers based the design of the installation for the second space on Lexus’ legacy, which can be traced back to Japan’s early mechanised textile industry.

Lexus Revealing The Unexpected Milan Design Week 2016 | Yellowtrace
Area 2 – ‘Revealing the Unexpected’ at 
Lexus Design Event 2016. As an homage to Lexus beginnings, a loom-like machine pulls and releases thousands of threads that, when stretched, recreate a three-dimensional outline of the LF-FC concept car.

Lexus Revealing The Unexpected Milan Design Week 2016 | Yellowtrace
Area 2 – ‘Revealing the Unexpected’ at 
Lexus Design Event 2016.

Lexus Sensing Innovation Milan Design Week 2016 | #MILANTRACE2016
Lexus Hydrogen Power Plant Milan Design Week 2016 | #MILANTRACE2016

Area 3 – Detail of ‘Sensing Innovation’ installation and Hydrogen power plant at 
Lexus Design Event 2016. In the third and largest space, Andrea and Simone applied advanced hydrogen fuel cell technology similar to that of the LF-FC to power a kinetic light installation. “We 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. Tanks located under the platform supply the hydrogen used by the ‘Hydrogen fuel cell stacks’ to produce electricity to lit our kinetic lights.”

Lexus Design Event Garden Milan Design Week 2016 | Yellowtrace
Lexus Design Event Garden Milan Design Week 2016 | Yellowtrace

Garden at 
Lexus Design Event 2016. The guests entered the space by walking beneath a series of gates like those found at some Japanese shrines, before emerging in an open garden space. From the garden, two dramatic portals led to experiences that enabled visitors to be immersed in the exhibit’s theme of Anticipation. Left: Entry to ‘Sensing Innovation’. Right: Entry to ‘Discovering Craftsmanship’.

 

The first space, Discovering Craftsmanship, which hosted the annual (a competition for emerging design talents), featured a series of metal stools, whose simple form highlights their finish. “We used 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, we based the design of the installation for the second space on Lexus’ legacy, which can be traced back to Japan’s early mechanised textile industry. As an 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”, explain the designers.

In the third and largest space, Andrea and Simone applied advanced hydrogen fuel cell technology similar to that of the LF-FC to power a kinetic light installation. “We 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. Tanks located under the platform supply the hydrogen used by the “Hydrogen fuel cell stacks” to produce electricity to lit our kinetic lights.”

In the tradition of Lexus supporting talents in different creative fields, the room also hosted a food tasting by the recently Michelin-starred, Japanese-born, Milan-based chef Yoji Tokuyoshi. “We collaborated with Chef Tokuyoshi, advising him to work 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 installations mixed contemporary finishes, such as car paint, cast resin and stainless steel, with more traditional materials such as cotton fabric and pine. The industrial interiors of the space were softly illuminated using several light boxes referencing traditional Japanese architecture.

 

Related Post: Milantrace Moment with Andrea Trimarchi & Simone Farresin of Formafantasma.

 

Lexus Design Award Milan Design Week 2016 | Yellowtrace
The four prototypes and eight panels of Lexus Design Awards were presented here within a simple yet sophisticated space.

Lexus Design Award Milan Design Week 2016 | Yellowtrace
Also on display at Lexus Design Awards was a selection of previous Lexus Design Award winners, along with stories of their progress after being entered in prior competitions.

Lexus Design Awards 2016, Milan Design Week, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Lexus Design Awards 2016 finalists during their final presentation in Milan. The presentations took place in front of the esteemed panel of judges and design mentors. Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace

Lexus Design Awards 2016, Milan Design Week, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
ANGELËNE presenting her SHAPE SHIFTERS at Lexus Design Awards finals. Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace

Lexus Design Awards 2016, Milan Design Week, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Lexus Design Awards 2016, Milan Design Week, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Details from Lexus Design Awards 2016, showcasing the four prototypes and eight panels displayed on perimeter walls. Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace

Lexus Design Award Winner - Agar Plasticity - Milan Design Week 2016 | Yellowtrace
Lexus Design Award Finalist - Trace Clock - Milan Design Week 2016 | Yellowtrace

Left: Lexus Design Award Grand Prix Winner. AGAR PLASTICITY – A POTENTIAL USEFULNESS OF AGAR FOR PACKAGING AND MORE by AMAM is a project exploring how agar, a gelatinous material obtained from marine algae, can be used as an environmentally friendly packaging material alternative to plastic. AMAM is collective of three Japanese designers Kosuke Araki, Noriaki Maetani and Akira Muraoka, who studied at the Product Design Department, Tama Art University, during the same period and formed their design group in 2015. AMAM were mentored by Max Lamb.

Right: Lexus Design Award Grand Prix Finalist. STUDIO AYASKAN’s Trace Clock uses a liquid with UV rays and discolouration properties allowing us to visualise the passing time. Begum and Bike Ayaskan of STUDIO AYASKAN are a twin designer duo from Turkey, having graduated from Royal College of Art, with a passion to explore the relation between nature, humans, and objects. Their vision is to bring people closer to nature and nature closer to design, and to create dynamic pieces that change and evolve with time. STUDIO AYASKAN were mentored by Snarkitecture.

Lexus Design Award Finalist - Dada Toys - Milan Design Week 2016 | Yellowtrace
Lexus Design Award Finalist - Shape Shifters - Milan Design Week 2016 | Yellowtrace

Left: Lexus Design Award Grand Prix Finalist. Myungsik Jang’s DADA is a natural toy blocks that anticipate children’s future and personality by looking at what blocks they pick up and how they assemble them. Myungsik Jang specialises in Industrial Design at Seoul National University of Science and Technology. He is inspired from things surrounding him like nature and animals and wants to tell stories through his work using vitality. His work is based on craft and bricolage designs. Myungsik Jang was mentored by Neri & Hu.
Right: Lexus Design Award Grand Prix Finalist. SHAPE SHIFTERS by ANGELËNE is a special cut of garment, applying modular principles to textiles, which allows you to create different fashions as you like. Angelene Laura Fenuta, founded ANGELËNE in 2015, during her Masters in Material Futures at Central Saint Martins. Her practice interrogates fashion, while attempting to discover a more ‘sustainable’ option. ANGELËNE builds upon core female wardrobe components, while being inspired by architectural construction and 18th century aristocratic dress. Angelene was mentored by Elena Manferdini.

 

This year’s  was an impressive undertaking in their own right, attracting 1,232 submissions from 73 countries. During Milan Design Week, the works of 12 finalists (including one from Australia – hooray!) were on display, including the prototypes of the top four entires who each had the incredible opportunity to be mentored by a panel of celebrated designers including Neri & Hu, Max Lamb, Snarkitecture and Elena Manferdini.

On April 12th, an elite judging committee, which included Toyo Ito, Paola Antonelli and Alice Rawsthorn, named AGAR PLASTICITY – A POTENTIAL USEFULNESS OF AGAR FOR PACKAGING AND MORE by AMAM the Grand Prix winner of the Lexus Design Award 2016.

 “This is a bold and ambitious experiment, which aims to address one of the biggest pollution problems of our time. The designers have made tremendous progress during the course of the award cycle, particularly in devising a wide range of possible practical applications for the material. Their success in doing so gives us confidence in their ability to tackle the many challenges and complexities they will face in continuing the development of the project,” said Alice Rawsthorn.

Hats off to Lexus and Formafantasma for producing such a sharp and inspiring Milan Design Week treat. Now all there’s left to do is to enjoy the video that follows, as well as the rest of the images in the gallery below. And don’t forget to check out my chat with the lovely Andrea Trimarchi & Simone Farresin of Formafantasma. Enjoy!

 



 

 


[Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace as noted. All other images courtesy of Lexus.]

 



About The Author

Dana Tomić Hughes
Founder & Editor

Dana is an award-winning interior designer living in Sydney, Australia. With an unhealthy passion for design, Dana commits to an abnormal amount of daily design research. Regular travel and attendance at premier design events, enables Dana to stay at the forefront of the design world globally. While she is super serious about design, Dana never takes herself - nor design - too seriously. Together with her life and business partner, Dana is Boss Lady at Studio Yellowtrace, specialising in Design Strategy, Creative Direction and Special Projects. The studio takes a highly conceptual and holistic approach to translating brands & ideas into places & experiences.

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