By their nature, car companies are rather conservative. Cars are expensive, so customers tend to be cautious when making such a large purchase. This explains why you see so many variations of silver exteriors and black interiors—it’s safer for resale value that way. That’s why I’m so enamored with these concept interiors that Lexus has commissioned for its latest concept, the LZ-F Electrified.
The car company offered up the interior of the LZ-F Electrified as a canvas for footwear designer Salahe Bembury, artist Ondrej Zunka, and the leather crafters at Hender Scheme, each of whom came up with something radically different.
Bembury’s take contrasts the advanced technology of an EV with plenty of natural materials. The seats are made of cork, with a rough suede on the seatbacks. The center console is made from cedar, and the steering wheel appears to be cut from granite.
“I want this car to feel like a seamless juxtaposition of machine and nature,” said Bembury. “Equally utilizing the function of the machine and the benefits and nature to fuel and nurture the passengers to their destination.”
Zunka embraced the technology angle. “This interior design is purely speculative, so I allowed for free associations and pure imagination and creativity,” Zunka said. “I wanted to make the interior feel as if it wasn’t made by humans, but maybe designed by a sophisticated artificial intelligence. I wanted to go past any known language and design concepts and forget about what is usually used in automotive interior design.” The interior panels are all backlit, and the car has translucent silicone seat cushions.
Hender Scheme might be best known for its handmade reimagining of classic sneakers in entirely untreated leather. So it’s unsurprising that the company went with that approach for its LZ-F Electrified interior, which is entirely made from the same untreated leather. The idea is that over time, the interior would break in and develop patina.
To be clear, no one is suggesting actual production cars should ship with granite steering wheels or interiors made entirely from leather. Crash-safety regulations, production requirements, and durability over the life cycle of a vehicle mean that any production Lexus EV will have a much more conventional look on the inside, in the same way that BMW’s Vision iNext concept lost some of its more interesting features as it was translated into the production iX. None of the three Lexus LZ-F Electrified interiors even exist in physical space—all are virtual designs. But I’m glad Lexus is playing around with convention.
Listing image by Lexus