Lexus designers enjoy the freedom of developing new colours for their cars, working from scratch in a process that can take up to two years. An occasion such as the launch of the 2021 LC Coupe is the ideal opportunity to showcase a new colour, in this case Blazing Carnelian.
Blazing Carnelian has been created as an emotional colour that evokes the agile driving performance of the latest edition of the flagship coupe. With its high colour saturation and brilliance, it is unlike anything seen before on a Lexus. Its visual quality is thanks to the application of multiple coats, each of which contributes to the ultimate effect, including two different high saturation base coats and an additional mica base.
Its impact is heightened by being offered in combination with an equally striking colour-way for the interior. Manhattan Orange is a rich new tone for the LC’s cabin, inspired by the famous Manhattan Henge – a brilliant natural light effect that occurs twice a year when the setting sun aligns perfectly with the New York district’s famous grid pattern of streets. Used for the headlining, door panels and seat upholstery accents, it creates an exclusive and avant garde feeling.
It joins a Lexus palette of 30 different shades featured across its model ranges. The collection already includes the striking Flare Yellow, produced for the LC 500h, and advanced metallic finishes, such as Sonic Silver and Sonic Titanium.
There are no shortcuts to creating a new Lexus colour: a designer will make their choice only after assessing hundreds of different samples. “When developing a new colour, I see so many shades of paint that sometimes I can’t see straight at the end of the day,” said Megumi Suzuki, one of Lexus’ most experienced colour designers, who brings an essential grasp of chromogenics and a keen eye to her job.
“Every time I meet someone, or walk into a shop, or go into someone’s house, I check out the colours and materials. There are many people like me in our division,” she said.
There is still much to do once a colour has been chosen. Suzuki enlisted the help of a small army of experts at different stages in the development process: lab technicians who mix the paint; clay sculptors; engineers; and the assembly line paint shop crew who give each LC a flawless, uniform finish. Kansai Paint, one of Lexus’ paint suppliers, produces a new batch every few weeks and Lexus designers scrutinise the samples, bending the test panels to mimic the contours of a car’s bodywork. All are examined in different lighting environments, indoors and out, at different times of day and months of the year.
Final colour selection is not easy task, either. A colour that is dazzling on a summer morning can appear sickly in the shade or under showroom lights. Designers also have to deal with the vagaries of their own colour preferences. “The odd thing about colour Is that your perception of it can change depending on the season, how you feel that day, and the trends you’re seeing,” said Suzuki.