This Lexus Origami car is made of laser cut cardboards, can be driven!

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Take a bow, Lexus, for creating this piece of art! The Japanese luxury car maker has created this masterpiece on wheels with some inspiration from the traditional Japanese art of Origami, and a mountain of determination. What makes it special? The car’s body is made of laser cut cardboards, assembled by hand with military precision by a team of workers who didn’t have a margin to commit even a single mistake. And it drives, too, with some help from an electric motor.

A faithful replica of the new IS saloon, the Lexus Origami Car has been created in honour of the human craftsmanship skills. The skilled workers – known as takumi – on the Lexus production lines, hone their hand dexterity by learning how to fold paper into an origami model cat using ONLY their non dominant hand. The Lexus Origami car takes the spirit of this talent to a far higher level, and celebrates it with as a grand monument. Here’s a video of the paper cat folding technique

The Origami Car has a fully fitted interior, functioning doors, headlights and rolling wheels. Made of 1700 laser cut, fully recyclable cardboard pieces, the car was created by a team of five professional designers and modellers from companies namely LaserCut Works and Scales and Models, supported by DS Smith (cardboard manufacturers).

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Lexus provided the team with a digital 3D model of the IS, which was then divided into a series of principal parts, such as the main body, dashboard, seats and wheels. These were then digitally rendered in 10mm “slices” to provide the two-dimensional profiles needed for the laser cutting of each of the 1,700 sheets of 10mm-thick of cardboard – supplied by packaging experts DS Smith.

Each layer was given its own reference number to help ensure it was assembled in the right sequence and the entire assembly was done by hand. A water-based / wood glue was used, which had to be left to set for 10 minutes after each application. Accuracy was vital, as changes couldn’t be made once the glue had dried. In all, the Origami Car took three months to build.

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“In effect we created our own vehicle production line,” said Ruben. “There was a lot of repetition in the process and we had to work with military precision.”

The creative process presented the team with a series of tough challenges: “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.”

This unique vehicle will be revealed to the public as a star attraction at the Grand Designs Live Show at the NEC in Birmingham, from 8 October. Here’s a video of the making of the car followed by an extensive image gallery. Enjoy!

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Lexus Origami car

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