2018 LEXUS LS TAKUMI CRAFTSMANSHIP stories. Chapter 1: Origami fabric pleating

The design innovation invested in the new Lexus LS luxury sedan includes intriguing details that capture the essence of Takumi craftsmanship, giving the car an appeal that goes beyond the qualities customers might expect from a modern luxury car.

Lexus has taken a new approach to creating new trim elements, turning to Japanese culture for inspiration and combining traditional aesthetics with advanced manufacturing technologies. For the customer, this is not just about something that looks and feels good, but which also captures the imagination.

Take, for example, the draped pleating of the door panels, an effect created by applying the time-honoured skills of Origami paper folding.

This interpretation of a traditional Japanese artform was a key part of Chief Designer Koichi Suga’s vision for the car: “As a Japanese luxury brand, we wanted to integrate elements of Japanese culture and the timeless appeal of Japanese craftsmanship to express the artistic side of Lexus.”

Suga outlined his ideas to a colour designer, who worked with a skilled fabric artisan from Kyoto. Together they produced Hand Pleats, a new fabric pleating technique that creates a three-dimensional pattern that is pleasing to the eye and touch.

It took four years to develop the hand-pleating upholstery process, which can only be carried out by human hand. It mirrors the work of the finest Origami artists, requiring individual lengths of a fabric cloth to be expertly folded like a sheet of paper, with each fold carefully overlapping the next to create the desired pleating effect.

Inside the LS, the interplay of light and shadow across the three-dimensional upholstery panels adds to the sense of an elegant, enveloping space. Such is the level of craftsmanship required, the pleated door panels are an exclusive feature in the new LS that will only be available to customers in selected markets.

For Suga, the results are perfect: “The pattern in the fabric has the ability to change its appearance and character, whether it is struck by daytime sunlight or illuminated by the LS’ interior lighting at night. The result is a comfortable space that envelops the driver and passengers in elegance.”