In the early 1970s, architect Frank Gehry earned his first design awards for clever furniture made from corrugated cardboard, triggering an explosion of creative experimentation with this then-century-old material that had been mostly used for protective packaging. Now a five-person design team has created a full-size and fully functional car from recyclable cardboard. It’s electric motor will make sure that a problem with emissions is unlikely to arise.
Lexus commissioned designers from London-based companies LaserCut Works and Scales and Models to create the one-of-a-kind sedan in the image of their IS saloon. The team used 1,700 laser-cut cardboard sheets, each 10 millimeter thick slice hand-glued to the other with a 10-minute set time between layers to allow proper adhesion. The origami-influenced project, which celebrates the human craftsmanship behind Lexus cars, took three months to complete.
The team worked off a 3D model of the original car, which they divided into principal parts, including the main body, dashboard, seats, fitted interior, functional doors, headlights and wheels. An internal steel and aluminum frame supports the electric motor that powers the car. Each of the cardboard layers had a unique reference number to make sure that they connected in the correct sequence.
“This was a very demanding job, with five people involved in the digital design, modelling, laser cutting and assembly,” said Scales and Models founder Ruben Marcos, “The seats took a few attempts to get just right and the wheels required a lot of refining. Once we could see the physical pieces taking shape, we could identify where we needed to make improvements.”
“As with anything, there were some elements of trial and error, but as we had all the resources we needed in-house, this made the changes easier to produce,” he continued. See the process in the video below:
The cardboard Origami Car will be on show as part of the Grand Designs Live event at the National Exhibition Centre taking place in Birmingham, UK, until 11 October 2015. More of a one-off kinetic sculpture than a practical mode of transport, and absolutely vulnerable to fire and rain, this oddity still makes more sense than the gold-plated sports car and a coin-covered Camaro seen on Arab Gulf roads.
Images from Scale and Models website