Lexus to Present “A Journey of the Senses” Installation – Milan Design Week 2015

By Tamami Laser with Nahoko Osuka reporting from Japan

Visitors to Lexus’s new installation at the upcoming Milan Design Week 2015 can look forward to “a complete sensory experience” created to “stimulate the eyes, ears, nose, fingertips and even the taste buds.” Milan Design Week is billed as the world’s largest design exhibition, with many events presented by fashion and furniture brands, along with automakers like Lexus that create rolling works of art.

A new design concept from the Lexus European studio EDwill sit at the heart of its installation, with a series of special mirrors positioned to capture “unexpected reflections and illumination to create a flow of motion stimulating the imagination.” (video: Toyota Newsroom Japan)

Internationally recognized French designer Philippe Nigro has explored the essence of Lexus to produce a new work, A Journey of the Senses, with Hajime Yoneda creating food items to complement his vision (see their profiles below).


The “Inside-Out” philosophy exists in every aspect of the installation’s design. Natural, human and progressive, wood is a prominent feature of the overall general design “not just because it resonates well with Lexus but because it evokes the senses.”

Lexus says it is committed to delivering unexpected and innovative design experiences to its customers and the world. Participation in global design events is an integral part of sharing this brand essence through the world of design.

As collaborators on the project, Lexus called on renowned space designer Philippe Nigro and chef Hajime Yoneda. Through this partnership between two internationally acclaimed creators, Lexus – A Journey of the Senses seeks to stimulate the senses of attendees and provide them with an imaginative experience that explores the limitless possibilities of the world of design.


Philippe familiarized himself with the Lexus design philosophy by visiting the factory and meeting the designers directly.

“When I visited Lexus plants to see how the cars are designed and built, I was greatly impressed by how much care goes into not just the exteriors, but also into the invisible internal details,” Nigro said. “It was this insight that led me to the ‘inside-out’ design concept that enables visitors to experience beauty from every angle.”

By revealing things that are normally hidden from view, Lexus will invite visitors to make new discoveries and enjoy new experiences in each of the installation’s three zones. (video: Lexus Media UK)

It is Lexus’s tenth year at Milan Design Week, the world’s largest international celebration of design. Through its collaborations with world-renowned designers, Lexus has presented a series of original works that interpret its unique approach to design and express its vision of what a true luxury brand should be.


Through several meetings over many months, Nigro and Yoneda developed a unique concept that awakens the senses through both the exhibit itself and a tasting experience.


Lexus says this year’s theme of the five human senses captures the fundamental elements of life and how we perceive the world around us and the possibilities it offers. The theme is particularly relevant to Lexus, as sensory perceptions are at the heart of the driving experience, from the exterior design of the cars, the sound of their finely tuned engines and sensations felt through the steering wheel. The installation’s zones include:

Zone 1: New insights in Lexus design

Created by ED2, Lexus’s European design studio, a new concept is described as a perfect illustration of Lexus’s passion for up-coming design trends.

Zone 2: Lexus Design Award 2015 – ideas to shape the future

Zone 2 will be dedicated to the work of 12 finalists in this year’s Lexus Design Award. Visitors will be welcomed in a woody foyer leading into an exhibition space where prototypes of the principal finalists and display boards showing the concepts produced by the other leading entrants will be on view. The space will have a quiet, soothing atmosphere to allow visitors to experience and appreciate the originality and creativity of each work and understand its potential contribution to future design.

Zone 3: Experience the five senses

The third zone will invite people to explore a series of three cocoons titled “Rain”, “Wood” and “Earth”. The intention is to create a primal environment in which visitors will be able to savour the work of food designer Yoneda.

  • In the first cocoon they will be given Rain Flakes to taste and ushered into a darkened room to experience the feel and sound of falling rain.
  • As they enter the second cocoon they will receive hand-made chocolates and experience the smells, sounds and tastes of a forest from the inside out.
  • Finally they will be served a bowl of soup, before entering a universe bright with stars in the darkness, symbolising the life force of Mother Earth.

Lexus – A Journey of the Senses will be open to the public from April 14 to 29 in the Lexus Space at La Torneria in Milan, daily from 11 am to 9 pm.

Designer Profiles

Philippe Nigro
Space Designer

Philippe Nigro was born and educated in France and divides his time between his homeland and Italy. Nigro’s works are characterized by a mixture of prospective research and a pragmatic appreciation of the manufacturers with whom he works. This knowledge allows him to navigate among projects of different designs and scales. Some objects he designed are in museum collections including his “Twin-Chairs” and “T.U. table” at Centre Pompidou. He also collaborates with a number of prestigious international brands. In 2014, Nigro was named Designer of the Year by Maison & Objet in Paris, and was commissioned to create the scenography for the 7th edition of the Triennale Design Museum in Milan.

Hajime Yoneda
Food Designer

A former computer engineer who has become one of the world’s most talked-about chefs, Hajime Yoneda has earned the admiration of the restaurant industry for his extraordinary skill, innovative thinking, uncompromising insistence on perfection, and the vast scope of his culinary vision. His restaurant was awarded three Michelin stars in 2009, only a year and five months after opening, an honor no other establishment in the world has earned so quickly. It is also ranked in the Foodie Top 100 Restaurants and Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants. In January 2015 Yoneda was listed among the 100 Best Chefs of the World by the French magazine Le Chef.

Exhibit Overview

Title Lexus – A Journey of the Senses
(Press preview)
April 14 –April 19 (10:00 – 18:00, April 13)
Venue Spazio Lexus – Torneria, Via Tortona 32, Milan, Italy
Theme Senses
Exhibits – An experience for the senses created by featured designers
– Lexus Design Award 2015
12 finalist designs (4 prototypes, 8 panel displays)
Organizer Lexus International

News source, photos and video courtesy Lexus UK

Story ©2015