Using Bamboo in vehicles is a unique concept and development that required intensive research from the color and material department at Lexus. Toichiro Kitamura of Lexus color design department said, “The most important point about the interior color scheme is that it be stimulating and have contrast, but also be neutral. We wanted to express the natural-ness of bamboo. We chose the brown tone to deliver that natural quality.” Looking at the interior, the black leather steering wheel, the real leather seats, and the silver trimmings fit together and contrast each other perfectly. Paying attention to not just the color of nature, but also to its texture makes the interior an indescribable feeling of gentleness when touching it. There is a perfect harmony of color, luster, and pattern. A long-sought answer for Lexus that embraces Japanese creativity.
Lexus uses mastery again in their steering wheel showing off a utilitarian car feature into an object of great beauty. The Lexus flagship has a Shimamoku wood steering wheel takes 38 days to produce, has 67 specialized stages of production, and a complex layering technique by Lexus. This steering wheel is made with sheets of agathist wood. Layered in alternating bands of contrasting color, it is pressed, cured, and sliced into thin wafer thin sheets. These thin sheets are then shaped to rim the steering wheel, sanded, polished, and varnished. The exquisite leather is then hand stitched to the wheel. This achieves a sense of spaciousness and excitement. The use of Shimamoku with its own traditional beauty creates a feeling of modernity and spaciousness that focuses on the steering wheel. Through master craftsmanship, succeed in realizing out design aspirations, it is believed that it will bring a new appreciation of the LS.
Much like the mastery gone into the Shimamoku wood steering wheel, the same level of detail has gone into the 2011 generation of the flagship, LS. Lexus achieved to match the wood grain from the dash to interior door trims. Lexus sourced all individual wood from the same tree going to different shops for various preparation steps. It could have taken three to four different craftsmen that get the individual pieces of wood that they prepare then come back numbered in sequence to reassembled in the final vehicle. This is a very complicated process with margins of human error, however, the extra effort makes the interior unique and consistent. Lexus takes pride in creating interiors as unique as its driver and valuing hand craftsmanship over mass production, Paul Williamsen, Spokesman for Lexus.
Vehicles evolve rapidly and it is important that companies do not end up creating the same design generic designs for their customers. Lexus with their bold and expressive design truly is unique to their customers. Going back to Japanese roots and true craftsmanship acquired over generations, Lexus relies on master crafters to make their interiors to be successful. Being inspired by art to create woodwork that cannot be found in nature but still respecting wood qualities, finding innovative materials like bamboo that can be environmentally sustainable, to going into the excruciating detail to make every steering wheel and interior trims to be perfect are all the reasons why Japanese craftsmanship is so significant in the automotive industry. It is with these great lengths that Lexus continues to create bold, beautiful, and harmonious designs for the unique customers in mind.