Lexus Electrified
Man's World|January 2022
The auto giant provided a window into its carbon-neutral future through American artist Germane Barnes’ installation at Design Miami 2021
Alshaar Khan
Did you know Muhammad Ali declared that he won't go to Vietnam, right here, rhetorised my Lexus-operating chuaffeur, Earl, as we entered South Beach, Miami. He had migrated from the Netherlands to Miami more than four decades back, and on the ride from the airport to my hotel, he gave me a romanticised account of the city's evolution. Soon, it dawned upon me that Miami was a consistent backdrop in Ali's fight for racial integration and his opposition to being unfairly drafted into military service for the Vietnam War.

So, it was only fitting that my first visit to Miami was marked by another African-American's show-stopping antics, at the Design Miami international design fair. Germane Barnes, an assistant professor at the University of Miami, was the brain behind auto giant Lexus' ON/ installation, inspired by the carmaker's LF-Z Electrified Concept car. The wireframe sculpture introduces new principles to the brand's ethos, and is aimed at achieving carbon neutrality through the ongoing electrification in its vehicle lineup.

According to Barnes, the idea behind a wireframe sculpture was to create a dramatic installation through minimal materials and transport emissions. Shipping a physical car across the globe goes against trying to build a carbon-neutral future, he told the media during a private dinner hosted by Lexus on the eve of the unveiling. Swings suspended underneath white arches stood at each end of the sculpture, which, Barnes said, are meant to symbolise that we're marching forward into this new future while also nodding to Miami's art deco architecture.

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