Do not underestimate the powerful combination of cardboard and a child’s imagination. After all, many of us have fond memories of doodling on, playing in, and the destroying of cardboard boxes.
With a little creative spirit, a cardboard box can become anything from a time machine to a high-speed train. So, for all intents and purposes, something as creatively basic as a cardboard car should be child’s play. But maybe we underestimate what the power of cardboard, imagination and a healthy dose of skill and money can accomplish.
What does it take to perfect a childhood dream? A 3-dimensional digital model of a Lexus Sedan, 1.700 laser-cut cardboard sheets, and a small team with the patience and creativity to pull it off.
By creating and utilizing a 3D model of the sedan, the team could divide the entire car into a series of individual parts. The wheels, the seating, the dashboard and main body were all constructed one by one, from the ground up. By digitally rendering each of these parts into 10mm-thick cardboard slices, they achieved the 2-dimensional profiles needed for the precise laser cutting that would eventually produce the 1.700 fully recyclable cardboard sheets needed to build a childhood fantasy.
The project grew beyond being a stationary cardboard car when they added functioning doors, a steel and aluminum frame, headlights, rolling wheels, a fitted replica interior and an electric motor. It is, in fact, a fully functioning cardboard automobile that has no problem being driven…
in a completely controlled environment.
Lexus, the luxury vehicle division of the Japanese car brand Toyota, employed specialist companies Scales & Models for the overall design of this one-of-a-kind automobile and LaserCut Works for the crafting techniques needed to make this ambitious project a reality.
The result is a perfect cardboard representation (and an obvious celebration) of Lexus’ own IS Luxury Sport Sedan. Taking their inspiration from the ancient Japanese art of Origami (it is, after all, an extremely complicated paper sculpture), the 5-man team of professional modelers, designers and crafters poured their efforts into three months of intensive automobile building.
The process was surprisingly hands-on, with every layer having to be fixed together by hand using water-based glue and left to set for 10 minutes after each application.
“This was a very demanding job, with five people involved in the digital design, modeling, laser cutting and assembly.” -Ruben Marcos, Scales & Models founder
Lexus’ cardboard car is no doubt a masterful achievement of craftsmanship, the techniques of which hopefully won’t go to waste on a mere marketing gimmick.
We shouldn’t expect cardboard cars to be replacing our current designs at any point. It’s a work of art to be seen, showing us a different take on what it means to be a car. Although it can actually be driven, thanks to the inclusion of an electric motor, it’s doubtful it will ever be street legal. An unexpected rain shower could be its undoing, for one.
Lexus’ cardboard car was shown off at the Grand Designs Live Showconsumer exhibition in Birmingham, UK in October of 2015.
So, we won’t be living in a world of cardboard cars and trucks. Especially not luxury ones like this Lexus origami car. But cardboard has far more practical applications as a building material which are often overlooked. Brands like Diseno Cartonero and FormMaker prove that eco-friendly pieces of home decor made from 100% recycled cardboard have a place in the market.
Perhaps they’re less imposing than Lexus’ creation, but a lamp or rocking horse is less likely to take up all your garage space like this Lexus made out of cardboard would.Perhaps there is some solace in that for those trying to live a 100% recyclable lifestyle.
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