Lexus has always admired the skills of the craftsmen and women who work on their production lines in Japan. Known as takumi, these highly trained Japanese production workers hone their dexterity skills by learning to fold an origami cat in 90 secondsusing only their non-dominant hand.

Now, Lexus UK has unveiled a stunning tribute to these skilled workers by creating a life-sized replica of the Lexus IS, using 1,700 pieces of laser-cut cardboard in what they’re calling the “Origami Car”. Complete with an electric motor, the cardboard vehicle can actually be driven. With the cardboard seats and interior, it won’t be an entirely practical, or legal, ride, but it would certainly be a memorable one!

The one-off model was created over a period of three months by a team of modellers and designers from UK companies Scales and Models and LaserCut Works, with help from cardboard manufacturers DS Smith. Crafted from 1,700 fully recyclable laser-cut cardboard pieces, the project is a great example of what can be achieved when you combine today’s technology with engineering, design and the construction capabilities of living, breathing people.


The high-quality replica was made possible by using the computer aided design (CAD) that was used to produce the real vehicle. This design helped to break the car up into real parts which could then be reproduced in laser-cut sheets. By using different corrugated sides of the cardboard material, the car is brought to life with a sense of depth and movement as you walk around it.

▼ Inside all this there’s an electric motor mounted on a steel and aluminium frame.


▼ All the car details have been faithfully recreated, from the working doors to the headlights, wheels and side mirrors.




▼ According to the designers, the detailed wheels presented them with one of their toughest challenges as they required a lot of refining.


▼ The fast-drying wood glue that was used required precision hand assembly, much like the precision that’s needed to construct origami with one hand.


▼ The car is fully fitted with an impressive cardboard interior.



▼ The main body, wheels, seats and dashboard were digitally rendered from the 3D model of the IS, and then recreated as “slices” for the laser-cut cardboard pieces.



▼ Precision assembly creates a stunning, wood-like finish.


The Origami Car will be on display at the Grand Designs Live Show in Birmingham from 8 October. To meet the people behind the project and find out more about how the work of art was created, take a look at the official video below.

To learn more about that crazy one-handed cat-folding technique, check out this one.

Can you make an origami cat using your non-dextrous hand in under 90 seconds? If you can, you might just be on your way to a career at Lexus!

Source: Hachima Kikou via Iroiro
Top/insert images: Toyota Lexus