2012 | Lexus LF-CC Concept | Examination Hall: Reflections, Lights and Shadows | Source (37 Photos)
2012 | Lexus LF-CC Concept | Examination Hall | Source
Equipped with five remote-controlled turntables and a 200-ton, motor-powered retractable roof, this hall enables designers to examine clay models or prototypes from every angle and, if required, under natural daylight. As Tanabe demonstrates for BEYOND BY LEXUS, the closed and sealed roof starts with the noise of motors rolling into action, and it takes only a minute or so before the roof opens to reveal the blue skies overhead. With the roof closed, the hall’s lighting system offers several different modes, including direct and indirect lighting. It is a convenient feature in that the designers are able to examine models even at night or during bad weather. This hall is an important element in the design process, as it is where all Lexus models are inspected to ensure that they appear equally impressive at any time of day and under any kind of weather condition. Connected to the examination hall is a 100-seat conference room, where 12 large monitors are set up so that the audience can scrutinize images fed by a live-view camera. “We bring out prototypes at varying stages of development to this hall to study,” says Tanabe. “Maybe more importantly, this is where the crucial decisions are made. In other words, in this very room, we designers unveil to executives the prototypes that we believe should go into production, seeking their approval.”
2013 | Lexus LF-NX Concept | Real-Scale Theater | Source
On the third floor of the design center is a sizable theater equipped with three high-definition monitors. Each measures roughly eight feet high by 19.5 feet wide. With the turn of a switch, designers can call up everything from rough sketches to 360-degree, full three-dimensional visuals. Each car’s design—from the smallest detail to the overall concept—is scrutinized on these huge monitors. Because they are set up side by side in a triptych format, different models can be shown on each monitor, allowing designers to study three prototypes simultaneously.
“We can even put up a 1:1 scale image of a car,” says Tetsuo Miki, a project manager at the Lexus Design Division. “Being able to do this is very important, as it gives us a good idea of how bold and sophisticated the car’s design looks from every angle. Also, since we can use the facility to study and hone a 1:1 scale image (up to a certain level), we can then create an actual clay model that is more accurate to our intentions, quicker. This in turn gives us more time to perfect the exterior form of that 1:1 clay model while making it as original as possible in the next stage, where we summon all the creativity and skills of our staff to further pursue our visual language.”
When Miki pulls up three-dimensional images of the LF-NX on the screens, the quality of the visuals is obvious. The concept car rotates sideways on his command for closer inspection, as if it were on a turntable. Three-dimensional data is also programmed so that simulated surroundings—landscapes, buildings and light—reflect on the car’s exterior. This is the closest the designers can get to having an actual car made.
Miki continues, “Not only that, but we can alter the landscape in which the car is shown, from a California coastline or a cobbled street in Europe to an urban cityscape. This enables us to understand how the car will be seen in environments in each of our overseas markets.”
2013 | Lexus LF-NX Concept | Virual Reality Cubicle | Source
At about eight by eight by eight feet, the cubicle may not sound impressive in comparison with the examination hall and real-scale theater, but this state-of-the-art facility is just as important. One enters the cubicle, sits in a “driver’s seat” and puts on a pair of three-dimensional glasses. What follows is an uncanny simulation of the car’s interior, with images beamed in from multiple projectors installed in the roof. This technologyenables Lexus designers to study how the interior components, such as the steering wheel and the famous Lexus remote touch device, will be laid out in the car. “One of the main pillars of our L-finesse design philosophy is ‘human-oriented,’” says Miki. “This cubicle enables us to study how this concept is realized and to perfect the interiors down to the smallest detail during the initial stages. It’s very helpful to be able to visualize how the interior components and design details will come together. If necessary, we can also go back to the sketches and fine-tune our design direction to make sure it would be attractive enough as a product. Then we can move on to the model-making stage smoothly.” Here, Miki shows images of the LF-NX for demonstration. The person in the driver’s seat can virtually experience the car’s internal space by moving his hands toward the (nonexistent) steering wheel and switches. Color coordination of the interior parts can be studied, too. As with the real-scale theater, the visuals of the car’s surroundings can also be changed to one’s liking.
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