THIS LEXUS IS LIT AF. NO REALLY, IT'S COATED WITH 41,999 LEDS.
Lexus just showcased a new one-off car that makes a Lamborghini look understated. While it's essentially identical to the 2017 Lexus IS luxury sport sedan and drives just like one, this particular model happens to be covered in a nice, round 41,999 LED lights. [Insert New Year's resolution joke here.]
According to Lexus, "The custom car produces 175,000 lumens when fully illuminated, and the LED strips, if placed end-to-end, would stretch half a mile in length. Three distinct modes allow the LIT IS to interact with sounds and people in its vicinity. Attract mode features a loop of colorful graphics that highlight the strong lines of the IS and play into its bold styling. Music Viz mode is designed to respond to music, as the LEDs will create custom, responsive displays that perfectly sync to any song. Gesture mode allows the motion of the LED animations to be controlled by users’ hand movements with the help of a gaming console." Pretty impressive stuff, if not exactly street legal.
WNW Members Aramique Krauthamer, Jeff Crouse and Matt Felsen were all part of the creative team behind this flashy automobile whose coat of light becomes a diversely visual platform. Below, we catch up with Aramique, who oversaw the whole creative vision of the production from the installation itself to all the ensuing film and photography, to get a quick glimpse into the making of this car. Despite the understandable challenge of making 41,999 lights glitch-free, the process sounds like it was overall a pretty smooth ride, thanks to a strong team and a helpful and supportive agency like Team One.
Tell us a little bit about your creative background. Who is Aramique and how did he get here?
I'm a Director at Tool focused on interactive installations and immersive media currently working between the US and Europe. Worked for a few years as a creative director at Syrup and Obscura Digital in New York, and then decided about 5 years ago I didn't want any kind of real job anymore.
What was your involvement in this Lexus LIT IS installation? How'd you get involved?
Team One had the idea to make a Lexus covered in LEDs and sent an RFP out to a few places including Tool where I'm represented. I submitted a treatment that they liked a lot and won the project to direct it. My role was to oversee the whole creative vision of the production from the installation to all film and photography.
What were some of the unexpected challenges or surprises in making the LIT IS a reality?
The first surprise was that the agency had good taste. That's rare in America. Usually I struggle with agencies asking for terrible changes that I disagree with, but in this case I liked all the feedback from Team One, and really enjoyed working with the creative director Alastair Green and art director Adam Bright. The two main challenges were mapping all the LEDs on the car and dealing with glitches caused by the sheer volume of LEDs.
Do you recognize a signature creative style that links all of your projects, or do you try to excuse yourself and approach each project as its own entity?
I like doing things I've never done before so you won't see much repetition. I am my own worst critic so I always ask if I would enjoy it, if I would go check it out, if my friends would go. I try to create things that can live at music or art festivals instead of marketing so that's usually the barometer. Brands commission a lot of random work but I'm not interested in letting them waste their money and my time.
Anything else you'd like to add?
This project was all about the team, not me. (WNW Members) Jeff Crouse and Matt Felsen, as well as Mau Morgo, Gary Gunn, Lars Berg, and Jennifer Baker all made magic. We had a badass team and that's why it came together nicely. We also had a chance to bring in a super talented DP Joe Picard and photographer Sesse Lind so our documentation came together perfectly.