One striking thing about this past year’s Super Bowl were the commercials—specifically, the ads for electric vehicles. Since then, there’s been an onslaught of news about the coming fleet of green energy cars. Seldom thought about, however, is the ways in which the design of those cars, termed EVs for short, has come about.
In an interesting collaboration with Lexus, and the ICA Miami, architect Suchi Reddy created an installation that attempts to map out the design principles that guided the form of the new Lexus Electrified Sport.
The result, installed in the ICA Miami’s courtyard, is a large sculpture, titled Shaped By Air. Green curving panels represent an abstracted tropical forest; a weaving, silver form slips in and out of it. It’s obviously a car, but it could also double as an abstract sculpture.
In a panel at the ICA, Reddy referred to her desire to represent the vehicle as being less solid and more essentially transient. She continuously experimented in her studio to get to this effect.
“Light and shadow is always in the back of my head,” Reddy said. “At the fabrication shop, I would take the metal forms I was working with, and play with different light intensity, throw their shadows up again the wall.”
Another part of the process was going to the studio where the Lexus Electrified Sport was designed, along with other Lexus models.
“It was like a secret lab. It was such an honor to see the concept cars, their process,” Reddy said. At the design studio, Alex Shen explained that their guiding design principle was to try to make a car shaped by air, totally in tune with aerodynamics.
When her design was completed, it came time to build. The sculpture was constructed using metal that was bent and shaped around the wooden forms that she originally fabricated. Beaten into shape using a double-sided mallet, with copper on one end for shaping, leather on the other for finishing, the sculpture slowly came to life.
Reddy was particularly attracted to this process because she felt it gave the sculpture a very handmade touch. In a bid to further respond to the “shaped by air” motto, the sculpture produces a vapor that gently coats the sculpture in a hazy mist.
Now that the work is out in the world, this is only the beginning of the sculpture’s life, Reddy noted.
“This sculpture will live for couple of weeks in Miami,” Reddy said. “But the thing we love about the fact that it’s fairly portable, so we can take it around the world. I’m so excited to see what it can inspire.”