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Lexus launches Aussie design scholarship

LF a design: Lexus is using the LF-LC Blue concept from the Sydney motor show to showcase its design nous at the ‘design pavilion’ it has built for the Melbourne Cup Carnival.

Renewed emphasis on design leads Lexus to invest in talent

Lexus logo2 Nov 2012

LEXUS Australia will invest $60,000 over three years to support a scholarship program aimed at providing talented young designers “the support they need to reach their full potential”.

The scholarship will be delivered in collaboration with RMIT University design professor Kjell Grant, who founded the not-for-profit Melbourne Movement that which promotes Australia’s reputation as a design centre.

In addition to mentoring, the Australian program will provide participants with the opportunity to display their work at Tokyo Designers Week and a behind-the-scenes look at the Lexus design facility in Japan.

To kick off the scholarship scheme, Lexus designers Edward Lee and Ben Chang from the Calty design studio in California – respectively responsible for the exterior and interior of the show-stopping LF-LC Blue concept car unveiled at the recent Sydney motor show – this week visited a group of design students at the soon to be opened RMIT University Design Hub in Melbourne.

For next week’s Melbourne Cup Carnival, Lexus has created a ‘design pavilion’ in the exclusive Birdcage compound, with the works of Australian designers on display alongside the LF-LC Blue concept car.

Lexus Australia chief executive Tony Cramb said the company’s status as a luxury marque means design and innovation is “central to everything Lexus does – evident in the efforts of our master craftsmen or Takumi”.

“Locally, Lexus Australia will ensure that young design stars of the future receive the opportunity they need to succeed via the Lexus Design Scholarship.”

Full details and opening dates for the scholarship are being finalised and will be announced at a later date.

The Australian activities are part of a world-wide push by the Japanese luxury brand to increase its profile in – and its connection with – the world of design, not just in the automotive sector.

Lexus will build an association with with international design events such at Tokyo Design Week and has launched a global Lexus Design Award program focussed on industrial design, in which a network of mentors will provide support to 200 participants.

A panel of six judges, among which will be Lexus International president Kiotaka Ise, will select 10 finalists, which will have the opportunity to visit Milan Design week as a guest of Lexus before two winners are selected.

The winners will have access to British industrial designer Sam Hecht and Japanese architect Junya Ishigami as mentors plus up to ¥5,000,000 (approximately $A60,000) to convert their design into a prototype for exhibit at next year’s 2013 Milan Design Week, where panel displays of the eight runner-up entries will also be shown.

Entries to the global Lexus Design Award must respond to the brief of ‘motion’ and are now open to individuals or groups of designers, of all nationalities, aged 30 or younger.

Design forum website Designboom will provide the infrastructure for design submissions and aid Lexus’ aim of promoting “open and constructive discussion about online design and design trends”.

“At a global level, the Lexus Design Awards bring together some of the world’s most renowned design mentors to foster young design of the future,” said Mr Cramb.

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