Royal College of Art Show 2012.Motivation
Having improved on my traditional car design skills, my aim was to find a new design approach, using a different process than the conventional way of sketching, photoshopping and 3d modelling. As well as this, I wanted to connect back to the substance of my pathway Inside Out. I focused on identifying alternative production technologies and appropriate materials. Abstract
We live in an era of ecological re-thinking and behaviour is changing. When consumers know how products are made, they increasingly opt for the more sustainably produced, willing to pay higher prices for a clear conscience. There is an opportunity to create greater eco-awareness through truly sustainable, tangible and relatable materials that tell the consumer a story how and from what it was made and where it comes from. Taking the Cradle2Cradle idea as a model, my concept abandons non-separable materials, using wood and aluminium, which are representative, of both technosphere recycling and biosphere decomposition. Lexus LF-Zero has been developed in a 0-sketch design process, entirely made from single rectangular aluminium and wood sheets. It is a completely waste-free sculpture.Concept
Sustainability has become a trendy word and not everything that is promoted as such is truly sustainable. Just because something has been recycled doesn’t mean that the recycling process or the material used in it is environmentally harmless. Recyclability alone will not be a lasting solution in order to sustain the environment for future generations.
The Cradle2Cradle principle uses materials which are either recycled as organic nutrients in biological cycles or circulated continuously as “technical nutrients” in closed-loop systems. This ensures an eco-efficient product, as no harmful substances are released to the environment and materials are re-used in the best possible way.
- Aluminium & Wood
At present not every part of the car can be made from biodegradable or non-hybrid materials. For this project I decided to use wood and aluminium, which are representative, of both technosphere recycling and biosphere decomposition. For the future I imagine a car whose components are gradually exchanged over time with Cradle2Cradle-capable materials. They would be labelled, making it easy for the customer to evaluate the eco-soundness of the car. In 25 years the car could be 40% C2C-capable, in 50 years 60%, and so on.
- Alternative Production Systems
For small quantities of body panels, there are more energy-saving and economically beneficial processes to form them. RoboFold, a company based in London, has developed an alternative production system. Rather than stamping with heavy machines, flat sheet metal is cut and scored to body templates and then folded by 6-axis industrial robots. The system also allows the instant implementation of new designs into the production process.
- Zero-Waste Aluminium Processing
The body is folded from rectangular sheets, using the whole surface without any off-cuts. 100% of the material is used and because of the RoboFold system there is no loss of material. This makes the body completely waste-free.
- Sustainable Harvesting
Forestry does not necessarily involve environmental degradation. The Menominee Indian Tribe in Wisconsin, USA harvest different tree species in a truly sustainable way, even managing to afforest more trees than they cut down. Lexus LF-Zero uses locally and eco-efficiently harvested wood such as the supplies from the Menominee Tribal Enterprises.
- Labelling & Shipping
The locally and sustainably harvested wood is processed into flat sheets. Then, it can be shipped together or separately with the aluminium panels and be assembled at the destination, making the shipment much more cost- and space-efficient. C2C certificates and labels of the manufacturer evidence the ecological compatibility and allow the origin of the wood to be traced.
- Aesthetics & Relatability
Reflecting the production process in the design, both the wood and aluminium add new elements to the L-Finesse design language. The raw surface edges and Origami-like geometries are in contrast to the current conventional free form cars in the market. The production method and its emphasis on ecological soundness become easily understandable to the customer. Thus, they can relate better to the materials, resulting in a closer relationship between them and Lexus LF-Zero.
- Recirculation & Customer Care
The use of aluminium allows it to be circulated in the technosphere recycling system. Whenever the life cycle of a body has expired or the customer demands a newer one, LEXUS will take it back in order to recycle it. LEXUS will provide the customer with a newly designed body, for which they would get a discounted price.
No sketching, Photoshopping or other visualisation techniques were used. The final design proposal is solely achieved through paper experiments.