Lexus Design Award 2019: a showcase of international innovation and design
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Lexus Design Award 2019: a showcase of international innovation and design

Lexus brought it's A-game to the Milan Design Week with a spectacular line-up of innovations as seen at the Lexus Design Event and Lexus Design Award 2019.

by Mrinalini Ghadiok Jul 17, 2019

One thinks of Lexus and a swanky car pops in mind. Think again and the swanky car is actually sleek, shiny, slender and swanky; it is luxury redefined with an unmatched engine and four wheels; it is the personification of a machine you would want to be. If you appreciate cars or machines or technology or simply design, Lexus is an embodiment of it all.

What Lexus also is, is a frontrunner in promoting design and innovation in fields other than the automobile industry! Why then, should Lexus not bag one of premier locations at Super Studios in the Tortona Design District during the Milan Design Week? And why would anyone be surprised to see how every year Lexus’ installation is one of the most cutting-edge and exciting works to be witnessed?

This year, Lexus surpassed others as it declared itself to be ‘Leading with Light’ at the Lexus Design Event 2019. Inspired by Lexus’ latest illumination technology, Rhizomatiks designed an immersive performance that combined playful and dynamic lighting with human dance and advanced robotics. It was an engaging show wherein countless beams of moving lights, robots trained by human movements and a single performer interacting with technology displayed Lexus' human-centered approach for a brighter future.

The performance designed by Rhizomatiks combined playful and dynamic lighting Video Credit: Mrinalini Ghadiok
  • Lexus Design Event 2019 - Leading with Light | STIR
    Lexus Design Event 2019 – Leading with Light, the audience interacts with Lexus technology, wherein the beams of light follow the movement of the ball Image Credit: Courtesy of Lexus
  • Lexus Design Event 2019 - Leading with Light | Interactive installation | Rhizomatiks | STIR
    Lexus Design Event 2019 – Leading with Light, a choreographed interaction between a performer, robots and hundreds of beams of light Image Credit: Courtesy of Lexus
  • Lexus Design Event 2019 - Leading with Light | Interactive installation | Rhizomatiks | STIR
    Lexus Design Event 2019 – Leading with Light, a choreographed interaction between a performer, robots and hundreds of beams of light Image Credit: Courtesy of Lexus
  • Lexus Design Event 2019 - Leading with Light | Interactive installation | Rhizomatiks | STIR
    Lexus Design Event 2019 – Leading with Light, a choreographed interaction between a performer, robots and hundreds of beams of light Image Credit: Courtesy of Lexus
  • Lexus Design Event 2019 - Leading with Light | Interactive installation | Rhizomatiks | STIR
    Lexus Design Event 2019 – Leading with Light, a choreographed interaction between a performer, robots and hundreds of beams of light Image Credit: Courtesy of Lexus

This was further demonstrated with cutting-edge vehicle lighting technology used to create a series of interactive installations. It is one thing to witness a choreographed dance, but when you are asked to point a torch at the headlight of a car and watch how it responds to every millimeter of your movement, that leaves you rather impressed!

  • Lexus Design Event 2019 - Leading with Light | Light Technology | STIR
    Lexus Design Event 2019 – Leading with Light, the technology prevalent in the latest Lexus car headlight detects oncoming traffic and diverts its beam to avoid blinding the other driver Image Credit: Courtesy of Lexus
  • Lexus Design Event 2019 - Leading with Light | Light Technology | STIR
    Lexus Design Event 2019 – Leading with Light, the technology prevalent in the latest Lexus car headlight detects oncoming traffic and diverts its beam to avoid blinding the other driver Image Credit: Courtesy of Lexus
  • Lexus Design Event 2019 - Leading with Light | Light Technology | STIR
    Lexus Design Event 2019 – Leading with Light, the technology prevalent in the latest Lexus car headlight detects oncoming traffic and diverts its beam to avoid blinding the other driver Image Credit: Courtesy of Lexus
  • Lexus Design Event 2019 - Leading with Light | Light Technology | STIR
    Lexus Design Event 2019 – Leading with Light, interactive light technology Image Credit: Courtesy of Lexus
  • Lexus Design Event 2019 - Leading with Light | Light Technology | STIR
    Lexus Design Event 2019 – Leading with Light, interactive light technology Image Credit: Courtesy of Lexus
  • Lexus Design Event 2019 - Leading with Light | Light Technology | STIR
    Lexus Design Event 2019 – Leading with Light, interactive light technology Image Credit: Courtesy of Lexus
  • Lexus Design Event 2019 - Leading with Light | Light Technology | STIR
    Lexus Design Event 2019 – Leading with Light, interactive light technology Image Credit: Courtesy of Lexus
  • Lexus Design Event 2019 - Leading with Light | Light Technology | STIR
    Lexus Design Event 2019 – Leading with Light, interactive light technology Image Credit: Courtesy of Lexus

Leading the pack with innovation to ‘Design for a Better Tomorrow’, the brand was also host to the Lexus Design Award 2019. Having launched an international design competition in 2013, the Lexus Design Award targets up-and-coming creators from around the world. It seeks to foster the growth of ideas that contribute to society by supporting designers and creators whose works can help to shape a better future.

This year, the Lexus Design Award received 1548 entries from 65 countries. The popular annual competition saw an overwhelming response owing to its diverse fields of submission.

What’s really interesting to see is how far they can push themselves; how far they can take themselves outside their comfort zone. – Sebastian wrong

It is an anomaly in the large sea of (some very specific) awards to have one that looks at design as a larger, more wholesome subject. Therefore, it is not surprising to see that from the impressive number of entries, the six proposals that made it to the final round ranged from high-tech engineering to architectural innovation, sustainable practices and even craft-based inventions. These finalists were given the unique opportunity to work with globally recognized designers who mentored them in New York to create prototypes of their works. The mentors included Jaime Hayon (Artist – Designer, Hayon Studio), Jessica Rosenkrantz (Co-Founder and Creative Director, Nervous System), Shohei Shigematsu (Partner and Director of OMA New York) and Sebastian Wrong (Design Director, Established & Sons).

  • Jamie Hayon | Mentor | Lexus Design Award 2019 | STIR
    Jaime Hayon (Artist – Designer, Hayon Studio), Lexus Design Award 2019 mentor Image Credit: Courtesy of Lexus
  • Jessica Rosenkrantz | Mentor | Lexus Design Award 2019 | STIR
    Jessica Rosenkrantz (Co-Founder and Creative Director, Nervous System), Lexus Design Award 2019 mentor Image Credit: Courtesy of Lexus
    Shohei Shigematsu | Mentor | Lexus Design Award 2019 | STIR
    Shohei Shigematsu (Partner and Director of OMA New York), Lexus Design Award 2019 mentor Image Credit: Courtesy of Lexus
    Sebastian Wrong| Mentor | Lexus Design Award 2019 | STIR
    Sebastian Wrong (Design Director, Established & Sons), Lexus Design Award 2019 mentor Image Credit: Courtesy of Lexus
It has been thrilling to gain insight into how the next generation of designers translate new concepts and philosophies into innovative solutions to the fundamental concerns of today. – Sir David Adjaye

After an invigorating 2 day mentorship workshop in New York, five of the finalists showcased their projects and prototypes in Milan. Unfortunately, Jeffrey E Dela Cruz was unable to travel to Italy, and thus, shared a video of his prototype built in the Phillipines. The esteemed panel of jurors included the renowned architect, Sir David Adjaye (Adjaye Associates), curator extraordinaire, Paola Antonelli (Museum of Modern Art, New York), technologist, John Maeda (Maeda Studio) and the President of Lexus, Yoshihiro Sawa, who questioned the presenters and gave valuable feedback to each.

  • David Adjaye | Juror | Lexus Design Award 2019 | STIR
    Sir David Adjaye, Lexus Design Award 2019 juror Image Credit: Courtesy of Lexus
  • Paola Antonelli | Juror | Lexus Design Award 2019 | STIR
    Paola Antonelli, Lexus Design Award 2019 juror Image Credit: Courtesy of Lexus
  • John Maeda | Juror | Lexus Design Award 2019 | STIR
    John Maeda, Lexus Design Award 2019 juror Image Credit: Courtesy of Lexus
  • Yoshihiro Sawa | Juror | Lexus Design Award 2019 | STIR
    Yoshihiro Sawa, Lexus Design Award 2019 juror Image Credit: Courtesy of Lexus

After much deliberation between the jurors and what was cited as a difficult conclusion, the Grand Prix was conferred on Lisa Marks for her project ‘Algorithmic Lace’.

Read more about each of the finalists’ projects here:

  1. Algorithmic Lace by Lisa Marks
  2. Green Blast Jet Energy by Dmitriy Balashov
  3. Solgami by Prevalent
  4. Baluto by Jeffrey E.Dela Cruz
  5. Hydrus by Shuzhan Yuan
  6. Arenophile by Rezzan Hasoglu

Finalists | Lexus Design Award 2019 | STIR
Finalists with their mentors and jurors at the Lexus Design Award 2019 Image Credit: Courtesy of Lexus

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About Author

Mrinalini Ghadiok

Mrinalini Ghadiok

Ghadiok is an architect by training, visualizer by heart and writer by passion. Having worked in the fields of architecture, lighting design, historical research and writing for more than a decade, she is driven by her passion for exceptional design and the narrative that choreographs its experience. As the editor of mondo*arc india journal and now STIRworld, she continues her foray in design journalism and publishing.

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