Garden of Earthly Delights
Stephen Treffinger -- Interior Design, 6/1/2007 12:00:00 AM
Amid the visual overload that is the Salone Internazionale del Mobile, the L-Finesse Invisible Garden was that rare place where Product could go almost unnoticed. Designed around the new Lexus hybrid LS 600h, the installation was by Kumiko Inui, a graduate of the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music and the Yale School of Architecture.
Each year since 2005, Lexus has sponsored an installation by a designer, an architect, or an artist—typically a rising star with "strong energy," according to Tomohito Matsuoka of the Toyota Motor Corporation, parent company of Lexus. Inui's environment was "about duality," she explains. "It was a garden, expressed in an artificial material. It was also a common material treated in an extraordinary way."
Endless sheets of silvery chlorinated vinyl, 16,000 square feet of it cut into wavy shapes, were stapled to gray-carpeted panels lining the floor and lower walls of a car-repair shop in the Zona Tortona, the "it" district for hosting events. (Neighbors included Maarten Baas, Marcel Wanders, and Swarovski's Crystal Palace). At the far end of the vaulted space sat the Lexus; dotting the landscape were custom ottomans, their gray and white felt petal forms dipped in polyurethane resin. In the April dusk, both the car and its shimmering surroundings took on a lovely pinkish glow.