adidas and Carbon bring ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ Lexus to life
Using Carbon's DLS technology to create the headrests and other interior features
Lexus, adidas, adidas’ S.E.E.D (School for Experiential Education in Design), Calty Design Research, and 3D printing company, Carbon, have partnered to create an all-new Lexus RX 500h F SPORT – inspired by Marvel Studios’ ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’.
To celebrate the recent launch of adidas’ ‘Wakanda Forever Collection,’ the team at adidas sought to bring their ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’-inspired designs into the automotive space. Created for the best athletes in the world, this performance sportswear aims to embody what it means to be Wakandan and explores the question, “What if Wakanda had a national athletic team?” The vehicle wrap builds on the custom identity of the fictional African nation as envisioned by adidas – creating an automotive identity that matches the fashion collection.
“The all-new RX 500h is part of our expanding Lexus Electrified portfolio with evolved innovative technology that elevates the driver’s experience,” said Michael Moore, general manager of Lexus International. “There’s an athleticism in the performance of the RX that makes it a perfect fit to join the ‘Wakanda Forever’ team.”
Beyond the customized exterior wrap, the students at adidas’ S.E.E.D embraced the challenge to reimagine the all-new Lexus RX interior by using the sequel as its source of inspiration.
“Lexus is passionate about fostering future designers,” said Sabina Charfauros-Redmon, creative lead at Lexus International. “We see adidas S.E.E.D as representing a new normal that opens doors for BIPOC women in the design space. It’s a special moment when young creators are given the opportunity to stretch their creativity beyond their own comprehension. Lexus believes in this narrative and is excited to be a part of this process.”
To help guide the students through the design process, Calty Design Research led the students through a series of workshops exploring automotive design, Lexus design, creative processes, color and materials, and the power of collaboration.
“Collaboration is one of our core values at S.E.E.D. We believe that innovation exists at the intersection of creativity, collaboration, diversity, inclusion, and equity,” said Cheresse Thornhill-Goldson, director of Design Education & Growth at adidas’ S.E.E.D. “A critical aspect of our curriculum is ‘open-source’ product creation where we team up with experts across various industries to educate and co-create with our S.E.E.D. designers to bring unique products to life. So, collaborating with Lexus, ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,’ Carbon, Calty, and Annex to design the Lexus Vibe-Branium Direct4 RX 500h was such a transformative experience for our students. The end result is a powerful example of what can happen when we leverage the ‘collective genius’ across disciplines.”
The custom build features an interior re-imagined with future-focused designs, textures, and materials. Key tactile areas such as the steering wheel pad and front and rear headrests are covered in the Carbon 3D printed, energy-returning, shoe mid-sole material used in the adidas 4DFWD. The front headrests include Lexus’s signature emblem and the rear center headrest houses adidas’s iconic logo. Meanwhile, surfaces around the shifter are decorated in laser-cut wood and gold trim that accents the interior to help create a uniquely Wakandan-inspired in-car environment.
Carbon, an adidas partner since 2017, has revolutionized athletic footwear by providing the technology platform for the production of adidas 4D midsoles. Carbon DLS (Digital Light Synthesis) technology is pioneered by 3D printing specialists aligning innovation and sustainability in collaboration with adidas to create a portfolio of athletic footwear that meet specific performance needs. In addition to this, Carbon’s footprint on the silver screen contributing to costumes, animatronics, and otherworldly environments, makes them the perfect partner to help realize the S.E.E.D student’s interior vision.