Lexus unveils a full-sized model of its new IS saloon made from 1,700 laser-cut cardboard sheets. Powered by an electric motor; it can even be driven. Stuart McDill reports.
A model car inspired by an ancient art. It's a full size replica of a Lexus IS Saloon - inspired by the Japanese company's links with origami. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SCOTT BROWNLEE, GENERAL MANAGER PRESS AND PUBLIC RELATIONS, TOYOTA, SAYING: "Styling on cars is all about surfacing and angles, and how things change as you move around them; how does a car's shape evolve from the front to the side to the back. And what was interesting was when they were making this is that you can pick up some of that. So even though its in a completely different material, in fact at some angles you can see through it because of the corrugation, you still get that sense of surfaces moving between each other." Lexus encourages its craftsmen to practice what's called takumi - honing dexterity by making an origami cat one hand handed against the clock. Mark Bolitho is a full-time origami designer - he says the art form has applications in prototypes from folding satellite dishes to airbag designs (SOUNDBITE) (English) MARK BOLITHO, ORIGAMI DESIGNER, SAYING: "This car is inspired, the inspiration was the engineers can make a paper cat and they can take it further using the same materials, the same underlying inspiration which is a folded paper object and come up with what you see today." It took five people three months and 2,500 hours to turn the computer aided design or CAD into a full-size corrugated cardboard replica with an electric motor - and the most difficult part - working doors (SOUNDBITE)(English) RUBEN MARCOS, SCALES AND MODELS, SAYING: "The hinges and the weights and whole structural issue, that was really I think one of the hardest parts." (SOUNDBITE) (English) DANIEL RYAN, LASER CUT WORKS, SAYING: "But that's what makes it a sculptural piece rather than an engineering piece because we have to make adaptations like that and it's not perfect in a CAD sense, it's got a human touch in it. And I think that's what Lexus liked about it as well; it's a link back to their origami." Hi-tech cardboard cars may not be the future of motoring - but it seems they do have a link with the past.