As the auto industry evolves and features and finishes once reserved for upscale cars trickle down to less-expensive models, automakers have to look for new ways to set their luxury models apart.
Lexus’s latest effort to that end is found in the new pleated door trim panels that will be offered in certain trims of its latest LS flagship sedan.
Lexus says these pleated panels will be crafted by hand in a west Japan studio called Sankyo, run by Yuko Shimizu, an expert in the art of creating fabrics for curtains and clothing which, in turn, has its roots in the ancient craft of Origami.
The work presented a challenge to Shimizu: Lexus said the pleated fabric that goes into the LS is heavier and thicker than what she normally uses because it has to stand up to the vagaries of a vehicle interior, including climactic variances, dust, and the abuse a car takes at the hands of its human occupants.
Shimizu worked with six other artisans – called Takumi – to come up with the process for creating the design Lexus had envisioned.
As she explained, Takumi normally work independently, but the complexity of the design she worked up for the LS requires two craftspeople to work in tandem.
Even still, it takes three days to create a single pleated panel for one of the LS’ four doors.
You’ll be able to see Shimizu’s work for yourself in early 2018 when the all-new Lexus LS reaches Canadian dealerships.