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Lexus x Whitewall Art and Innovation Series: Design in Concert with Nature

Whitewall x Lexus Art and Innovation Series: Design in Concert with Nature

Pearl Fontaine

8 December 2022

The 2022 iteration of Miami Art Week is underway, bringing with it the 7th annual Lexus & Whitewall Art and Design Innovation Series. The first of the series of panel discussions, “Shaped by Air: Design in Concert with Nature,” took place at the ICA Miami on Tuesday evening, where Isolde Brielmaier, the Deputy Director of the New Museum and Guest Curator at the International Center for Photography in New York, lead a conversation surrounding Suchi Reddy’s “Shaped by Air” installation, presented by Lexus in the museum garden.

Featuring dialogue from Reddy, Designer and Founder of Reddymade, Alex Shen, Chief Designer and Studio Resource Manager at Calty Design Research, and Brian Bolain, Global Head of Marketing and Public Relations, Lexus International, the talk considered how “Shaped by Air” places design in direct conversation with its environment, prompting a look at designing not just with nature in mind, but in conversation with nature. Based on the Lexus Electrified Sport model—a sleek electric vehicle concept inspired by air trails and the movement of the wind—Reddy’s work underscored the automotive brand’s sustainable ethos in a symbiotic manner that prompted the designer to consider her venue of presentation, the initial design of the car, and in turn, ignited the creative thought ways of Shen and the team at Calty Design Research.

Lexus x Whitewall Art and Innovation Series: Design in Concert with Nature

Isolde Brielmaier, Alex Shen, Suchi Reddy, and Brian Bolain for the Lexus x Whitewall Art and Innovation Series: Design in Concert with Nature.

“We always want to see the car in a different light and I think Suchy did really well on that,” said Shen. “She saw some of the lines and forms we were going after. I think [with] everything about the car, we wanted to make it an art piece. That was the intent: how do we make a long-lasting art piece; something that you can keep forever?”

Listeners at the panel discovered how the work epitomized both the importance of responsible materiality (it is crafted from primarily repurposed materials) and the ideas of a harmonious relationship to place. During its short time in the museum garden, the mesmerizing vehicle-inspired form—made of delicately-molded metal mesh, emerald-hued powder-coated panels, and floating on a mirrored platform—quickly became home to fallen leaves and the occasional tiny spider, building a web in its folds, and also offers viewers a completely different experience when viewed during daylight and at night. “The sculpture became about melding together nature and the environment with the design,” said Reddy. “I wanted people to have this sense of discovery.”

Suchi Reddy’s “Shaped by Air” for Lexus at the ICA Miami.

Lexus’s fifth creative partnership tying the work of a designer to a car concept, the panelists finally touched on the power of creativity to engage a variety of demographics. In addition to its relationship to place and sustainability, Reddy’s creative expertise and “Shaped by Air” allows for the automotive brand to offer more accessible means of approaching design that might fall to the wayside of those less involved in the automotive world.

“I think it’s important that a brand never becomes stale,” said Bolain. “In an era where our industry is shifting towards electrification and talking about carbon neutrality, it’s nice to have a way to talk about it that’s a little more interesting, a little easier to digest.”

Detail of Suchi Reddy’s “Shaped by Air” for Lexus at the ICA Miami.

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Ahead of the week of Milan Design Week, we’re introducing new collections and immersive exhibitions by internationally renowned design brands.
Whitewall's Editor in Chief Katy Donoghue moderates a discussion with Anotherview, David/Nicolas, Lonneke Gordijn, and Evan Snyderman.
Whitewall's Editor in Chief Katy Donoghue moderates a discussion with Nicole Nomsa Moyo, Tosin Oshinowo, and Siyanda Mbele.

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