The Magic of Exceptional Craftsmanship
To children, the concept of “magic” evokes delightful images of impossible transformations: A white rabbit pulled from a seemingly empty top hat; a slimy frog turned into a handsome prince. While our belief in this kind of magic gradually wanes, we can begin to understand that there are more tangible magical transformations waiting to be discovered. One of these is the artistry of master craftsmen, which can imbue a sense of childlike wonder and magic in all of us.
A major element of this particular magic is the rare combination of talent, experience, dedication and passion that characterises a true expert craftsperson, and the corresponding level of skill involved in producing their enchanting works.
This process is exemplified by the passion of the Takumi masters who have created magic with the design elements of the new Lexus LS. Meaning “artisan” in Japanese, the title of Takumi is bestowed only on those who have shown exceptional skills and exemplary dedication, proving they are indeed worthy of this appellation.
To demonstrate their dexterity, aspiring Takumi must fold an origami design in less than 90 seconds with just one hand - their non-dominant one. The art of origami, folding three-dimensional models from a sheet of paper, has delighted children and adults alike for generations. Designs range from those which can be completed in a few minutes to highly complex models which challenge even the most experienced of paper artists.
When creating their magic, origami masters understand that every single step builds on the one before it, and each fold must be precisely executed to create an aesthetically pleasing design. While the untrained eye sees only the finished product, relishing the seemingly impossible transformation from a single sheet of paper, the artist understands the equal importance of that which goes unseen.
This dedication to precision and expert execution is mirrored in the exquisite pleated fabric on the door panels of the Lexus LS. Inspired by origami, the three-dimensional design gives rise to a symphony of light and shadow.
Often overlooked, light is an important design element that is used to evoke a variety of moods and highlight certain aspects of a scene or environment. Like the Andon lamps used around Japanese spaces, usually made of a wooden or bamboo frame covered with washi paper, these lamps are appreciated for the atmospheric quality of the gentle light they emit.
Similar aesthetics are reflected in the ambient cabin lighting used in the Lexus LS. Located behind the door trim panels and armrest, the illumination is carefully placed to create a feeling of spaciousness, allowing for subtle shifts in mood to relax the driver and add to the sense of an elegant, enveloping space.
The element of light also comes into play with glass art. Craftsmen delight in the luminous qualities of their medium, as well as the versatility it affords them. The work of glass artisans can range from towering, multi-dimensional sculptures, to delicate, miniscule pieces that nestle comfortably in the palm of one hand.
The magic of glass art begins with heat, and the expert draws on experience to judge when the molten glass is pliable enough to begin working with. Master and material come together in kinetic harmony, as the hot glass is continually moved and shaped. The finished product, magically transformed to static crystalline perfection, is a testimony to the artist’s vision.
This essence of magical beauty is also displayed in the glass interior elements of the Lexus LS, created using the Kiriko glass carving technique, delivering an intricate handcrafted ornamentation panel and the feeling of timeless elegance.
Whether the medium is paper, light or glass, these examples of magical transformation can delight the beholder at any age, and continue to inspire passion in artisans worldwide. One example is that of the Indian origami master Himanshu Agrawal, who recently created a new masterpiece that is a triumph of intricacy and elegance, enhanced by the play of light across its details.
Through examples of craftsmanship and artworks such as these, we can see that magic is not just for the very young—it is all around us if we open our eyes, minds and hearts and allow it to envelop us.
Lexus LS craftsmanship
Experience the Lexus LS craftsmanship through the eyes of four renowned artists.