The fully functional automobile eschews metal and glass for an origami inspired design made from paper products.
image via youtube screen capture
Luxury auto makers Lexus this week unveiled their latest concept car: A working replica of the Japanese company’s IS model, made entirely out of precisely measured cardboard. Yes, a fully drive-able high class automobile that consists of nothing but heavy-duty paper.
Inspired by the folding art of origami, the car is built out of custom shaped cardboard segments, all fitted over a steel and iron frame, and housing an electric motor. Everything else–from the body to the interior to the wheels–is made of precisely fitted modular sheets of cardboard.
Writes the company:
“The skilled men and women – known as takumi – who work on the Lexus production lines hone their dexterity skills by learning how to fold paper into a origami model cat, using only their non-dominant hand. The Origami Car takes the spirit of this talent to a far higher level, while also embracing the spirit of Lexus’s Creating Amazing global brand campaign.”
To create their cardboard car, the automakers partnered with Scales and Models and LaserCut WORKS, two London-based firms who specialize in this sort of custom model building. Using digital models of the IS series, the firms went about cutting 1,700 individual sheets of 10–mm thick cardboard, writes Lexus on the company’s website.
“The seats took a few attempts to get just right and the wheels required a lot of refining,” explains Ruben Marcos, director of Scales and Models. “Once we could see the physical pieces taking shape, we could identify where we needed to make improvements – as with anything, there were some elements of trial and error, but as we had all the resources we needed in-house, this made the changes easier to produce.”
Lexus isn’t the first company to demonstrate the constructive value of cardboard. The material has been enjoying some well-deserved credit for its versatility and environmental friendliness of late, having been used to create skateboards, ultra–strong protective headwear, and even lightweight and affordable bicycles.
With its electric motor and recyclable construction, the origami car might seem like a shoe-in for drivers looking for the next big thing in green transportation, but don’t expect to see these on the roads anytime soon. Lexus refers to their creation as a “modern piece of performance art,” rather than a potential product line. For now, anyone interested in getting up close and personal with the vehicle will have to do so at the Grand Designs Live show in Birmingham, U.K. from October 8th through 11th.