Inspired by the Lexus LF-Z Electrified Concept, the installation is punctuated by electrification, technology and bespoke design. It was envisioned as a nod to the Lexus brand’s commitment to luxury that feels personal and engaging, with intuitive technology, passionate enthusiasm and the thoughtful use of electrification that helps chart a path toward a carbon-neutral future.
Lexus unveiled ‘ON/’ at Design Miami/, presenting a vision by Germane Barnes and his team at the University of Miami that is inspired by the power and potential of Lexus’s LF-Z Electrified Concept car, which introduces new electrification principles to the brand’s ethos. The immersive installation embodies the human-centered, future-oriented approach to design and craftsmanship that the automotive brand and Barnes share, its title alluding to an on/off switch as a vision of a carbon-neutral future powered by electric technology. ‘ON/’ creates an environment that is designed to engage viewers of all ages, providing an experience that is both visually dynamic and interactive while offering an inviting space to recharge and reflect.
The installation is centered around a precisely-to-scale, three-dimensional sculptural rendition of the LF-Z Electrified Concept car rendered in steel and illuminated with embedded LED lighting; the frame of the car glows and is suspended just above the ground, a vision of a more sustainable future coming into focus. Two swings anchor the display, each suspended within illuminated arches in a nod to the classical architecture that is both foundational to the design of civic infrastructure and central to the University of Miami’s curriculum, alluding to a gateway between our present and the possibilities of the future. This arch is echoed in furniture with embedded LED lighting designed by Barnes and his team specifically for the installation, providing discrete areas for rest, repose and recharging — reflecting the brand’s commitment to the principle of omotenashi (exceptional hospitality).
The entire installation is unified by a unique lighting scheme, designed to enable engagement from users around the world via an interactive virtual model unveiled online alongside the physical display. Participants are invited to create their own lighting designs for the display, altering the color of various features including the walls, car, swings and furniture. Barnes and his team will select a series of the user-generated designs to showcase onsite, spotlighting the creative vision of entries from around the world.
“As a global brand with commitment to the Japanese design principles of takumi (expert craftsmanship) and omotenashi (exceptional hospitality) and a mission to build towards a carbon-neutral future, Lexus embodies elements that are essential markers of high-quality design for today, while also echoing my personal values. Designing for a future that is collaborative, sustainable, equitable and prioritizes the unique experiences of individuals is both a driving force of my practice and my work with students here at the University of Miami. As Design Miami/ opens, we’re excited to see how the public engages with the installation, both in-person and online, and makes our vision for the future their own,” commented Germane Barnes, assistant professor at the University of Miami School of Architecture.
This concept reflects a commitment to next-generation design and was developed by Germane Barnes, principal architect at Studio Barnes, assistant professor at the University of Miami School of Architecture and director of the CHIL Lab, in close coordination with his team at the University and Studio. The core project team included students Isabella Adelsohn, Mahlia Jenkins and Andrea Martinez of the School of Architecture at the University of Miami, along with Indrit Alushani, lecturer and RAD Lab manager, and Rodolphe el-Khoury, dean of the University of Miami School of Architecture.
“We’re thrilled to bring this incredible project from Germane Barnes and the University of Miami to Design Miami/ in our fourth year of partnership with the fair,” commented Brian Bolain, Lexus’ global head of marketing. “As we look towards next generation design, this project has given us a chance to highlight Lexus’ commitment to electrification while working closely with the students at UMiami who are incredibly talented and truly represent the future of design and innovation.”
Returning as automotive partner for its fourth year at Design Miami/, Lexus will present another installment of its long standing Lexus Art & Innovation series with “Whitewall” from November 30-December 1. Speakers include Dror Benshetrit, Harry Nuriev, Thomas Coldefy, Sarah Meyhoas, Gretchen Andrew, Refik Anadol, Lee Quinones, Yves Béhar, Cathy Leff, Rudy el-Khoury, Brian Bolain and Kevin Hunter; alongside moderators Tamara Warren, Alessandro Possati, Katy Donoghue and Laurent Moïsi, to name a few, in addition to Germane Barnes who will participate on the panels “Fertile Ground: Shaping the Next Generation of Designs” on Tuesday November 30 at 4:30 p.m. and “Electrification and Beyond: How Tech is Shaping What Comes Next” on Wednesday December 1 at 11:30 a.m. Design Miami/ runs from December 1 through December 5 online and in-person at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
The press kit includes a documentary behind the scenes, high-res photography, CGI video, which can be accessed here.
THE DESIGN TEAM
Indrit Alushani, Lecturer and Manager of the RAD Lab at the University of Miami School of Architecture
Isabella Adelsohn, 3rd year student at the University of Miami School of Architecture
Mahlia Jenkins, 4th year student at the University of Miami School of Architecture
Andrea Martinez, 3rd year student at the University of Miami School of Architecture
Rodolphe el-Khoury, Dean of the University of Miami School of Architecture
Donnie Navarro-Garcia, Architectural Designer and Lecturer at the University of Miami School of Architecture
Ana Maria Regalado, Associate Dean, Student Development Programs at the University of Miami School of Architecture
ABOUT GERMANE BARNES
Germane Barnes is the principal architect of Studio Barnes, and Assistant Professor and the Director of the Community Housing & Identity Lab (CHIL) at the University of Miami School of Architecture. Barnes’ practice investigates the connection between architecture and identity, examining architecture’s social and political agency through historical research and design speculation. Believing strongly in design as a process, he approaches each condition imposed on a project as an opportunity for transformation.
His work has recently been exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art’s groundbreaking 2020 exhibition, Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America, and the 2021 Chicago Architecture Biennial. He was a winner of the 2021 Architectural League Prize for Young Architects and Designers, and is a 2021-2022 Rome Prize Fellow at the American Academy in Rome. With his winning proposal for the prestigious Harvard School of Design’s 2021 Wheelwright Prize, Anatomical Transformations in Classical Architecture, Barnes will examine classical Roman and Italian architecture through contributions of the African Diaspora. Barnes received a Bachelor’s of Science in Architecture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Master of Architecture from Woodbury University where he was awarded the Thesis Prize for his project Symbiotic Territories: Architectural Investigations of Race, Identity, and Community.
ABOUT THE SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE AND LABS AND CENTERS
The University of Miami School of Architecture, which enrolls more than 500 students in both undergraduate and graduate programs, is at the forefront of preparing students for professional leadership in architecture, urbanism, and related fields. The school employs research, professional engagement, and creative practice to advance knowledge, technology, environmental responsibility, social equity, and economic sustainability.
The School of Architecture stewards a series of Labs and Centers each developed around a key emerging research area within the field of architecture, working with faculty to bring specialized knowledge to the program. Areas of investigation span social and political impact, exploration into augmented reality and digital futures, digital fabrication and robotics, and urbanism.
With collaboration across the labs, projects have included the Miami Highrise exhibition, in which ten 3D printed iconic Miami highrise buildings were embedded in augmented reality technology, and Dark Mode, an exhibition observing the spatialization of the Black body in Miami.
Additionally functioning to develop an expanded network outside of the school, the labs and centers provide new opportunities for student and faculty participation, which has recently included the Museum of Modern Art’s Reconstructions exhibition, the 2021 Chicago Architecture Biennial, and community design for Delray Beach, Florida.
ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI
The University of Miami is a private research University and academic health system with a distinct geographic capacity to connect institutions, individuals, and ideas across the hemisphere and around the world. The University’s vibrant and diverse academic community comprises 12 schools and colleges serving more than 17,000 undergraduate and graduate students in more than 180 majors and programs. Located within one of the most dynamic and multicultural cities in the world, the University is building new bridges across geographic, cultural, and intellectual borders, bringing a passion for scholarly excellence, a spirit of innovation, a respect for including and elevating diverse voices, and a commitment to tackling the challenges facing our world.
ABOUT DESIGN MIAMI/
Design Miami/ connects the world through extraordinary collectible design, with live fairs and experiences on four continents that bring together galleries, designers’ studios, brands, experts, collectors, and enthusiasts, and designmiami.com, a content-rich digital marketplace. Each edition of Design Miami/ features museum-quality 20th and 21st century furniture, lighting, and objets d’art from the world’s top, expertly vetted galleries with flagship fairs taking place alongside Art Basel in Miami, Florida, each December and Basel, Switzerland, each June. Design Miami/ is also accessible 365-days a year through designmiami.com, featuring shoppable works from Design Miami’s expert galleries, DM/BX – a curation of more accessible one-of-a-kind, limited edition, and small batch design objects, as well as virtual programming, and engaging storytelling at the Forum Magazine.
“Whitewall” brings together the worlds of Art, Design, Fashion, and Lifestyle. As a print a digital media platform, “Whitewall” amplifies the voices of the visionaries who are changing those industries—the artists, designers, creatives, and leaders. Our print publications focus on quarterly themes and major seasonal events. The global large-format print edition debuts quarterly, and the cultural event-focused guide, “Whitewaller,” is done in partnership with local Guest Editors and Insiders. Whitewall.art features timely articles, in-depth interviews, city-specific recommendations, videos, native content via “Whitewall Presents,” and ongoing series like “Beyond the Walls,” “Brand New,” and more.
Lexus launched in 1989 with a flagship sedan and a guest experience that helped define the premium automotive industry. In 1998, Lexus introduced the luxury crossover category with the launch of the Lexus RX. The luxury hybrid sales leader, Lexus delivered the world’s first luxury hybrid and has since sold over 1.5 million hybrid vehicles.
A global luxury automotive brand with an unwavering commitment to bold, uncompromising design, exceptional craftsmanship, and engaging performance, Lexus has developed its lineup to meet the needs of the next generation of global luxury guests and is currently available in over 90 countries worldwide.
Lexus associates/team members across the world are dedicated to crafting amazing experiences that are uniquely Lexus, and that excite and change the world.