In coordination with Design Miami/, Freedom to Move is a conceptual design that explores a universal language of protection, reflecting on the desire for freedom and movement through craftsmanship, cultural cues, and a reflection on global history
Lexus recently unveiled a conceptual design collaboration with architect and designer Tosin Oshinowo and textiles and furniture designer Chrissa Amuah. In coordination with Design Miami/, Freedom to Move presents a collection of headpieces that explore the idea of protection and celebration, as well as functionality and ornamentation. Inspired by the changes this year has brought worldwide, the headpieces are conceived as an alternative to the utilitarian face masks that have become ubiquitous, while artistically celebrating the collective desire to move through the world freely and confidently together. Freedom to Move is a reflection that is timely and culturally significant, aimed to be understood across cultures through its exploration of materials, textures, color and craftsmanship. In keeping with the Lexus automotive experience and core values, Freedom to Move reconsiders human movement in this new world, creating a design that is elegant, functional, and luxurious. The headpieces fuse new innovations with lost techniques and bring together cultural references from across the world, including Japanese principles of design, omotenashi (exceptional hospitality) and takumi (expert craftsmanship), which were integral throughout the design process. Collaborating in Lagos, Nigeria, where Oshinowo is based, the designers considered their context in Africa, in addition to the diversity of cultures around the world. With an understanding of today’s face mask and its functionality, Oshinowo and Amuah explored global history in which the head has always been a focal point for protection and adornment across cultures. Though rooted in history, the headpieces also nod to the future, signaling an unbounded and unending pursuit of advancement, innovation and discovery.
“As nomadic beings, it is unnatural to stand still, and we wanted to reconfigure how we move in a positive way in spite of the restrictions of motion the world now finds itself in,” commented Chrissa Amuah. “Our conceptual design makes a bold stride towards our new human existence and is enraptured in a marriage of ergonomics and spectacle,” said Tosin Oshinowo.
The three uniquely designed headpieces are titled; Egaro, Pioneer Futures, and Ògún, which have slight alterations, and integrate multiple materials such as brass, bronze, leather, and acrylic, with detailing of hand beading, laser etching and embroidery using the West African tinko method. Working by hand with artisans that use ancient craft techniques, was matched with the use of 3D printing and advanced technologies. All three of the mask designs feature transparent panels, which allow the wearer to overcome the challenges of communicating with limited facial expressions presented by typical protective masks.
As a long term partner of Design Miami/, Lexus approached this year’s fair as an opportunity to reflect on the shared global condition, choosing a collaboration that is inspired by the brand’s human-centered approach, and reflects on the common desire for comfort, safety, and beauty as we collectively move towards a new future. For more than three decades, Lexus has demonstrated unwavering commitment to bold, uncompromising design, exceptional craftsmanship, and exhilarating performance. In addition to the collaboration with Oshinowo and Amuah, Lexus will be staging an LC 500 Convertible in Miami’s design district and will present the fifth installment of the Lexus Art & Innovation series with Whitewall from December 2-3. Speakers include Yves Behar, the Haas brothers, Marcel Wanders, Katie Stout, and Misha Khan, to name a few, in addition to Oshinowo who will participate on the panel discussing Africa and its relationship to innovation in design and creativity on December 3 at 2pm.
Timed to Design Miami/, Freedom To Move is intended to reach audiences worldwide through a dynamic digital experience. In addition to partnering with a selection of content creators to showcase the headpieces from different global perspectives, Lexus has debuted a compelling three-part docuseries which follows Oshinowo and Amuah on location, bringing to life the personalities behind the collaboration and showcasing the design journey from sketch, concept generation to prototype and final production.
Design Miami/ runs from November 27 through December 6 online and in-person in the Miami Design District.
ABOUT TOSIN OSHINOWO
Tosin Oshinowo is a leading architect based in Lagos, Nigeria, as well as a designer, creative entrepreneur, and founder of Ilé-Ilà, an internationally recognized furniture brand that explores bold colors through period-conscious furniture in a contemporary African context. Oshinowo is a registered Architect in the Federal Republic of Nigeria and a member of the Royal Institute of the British Architects. Since 2012, she has been the Principal Architect at cmDesign Atelier (cmD+A architecture design consultancy practice known for environmentally-conscious and boundary-pushing contemporary architecture in Nigeria and across the African Continent.
Oshinowo is known for her socially responsive approach to architecture and urbanism and her exploration into the African identity in the modern context, in which she has written articles like “The Reclamation of Public Space in Lagos” for the African Artists Foundations. Oshinowo also has a regular column at Omeka online called “Afromodernist: Identity, Architecture & Sexuality”. In addition she has also featured on TEDx, speaking on “The Identity of an African Building”. Her work in the public space of Lagos includes bringing art and design installations to the city in addition to co-curating the 2019 Lagos Biennial.
In addition to Oshinowo’s many collaborations with creatives, including her project with Victor Ehikhamenor which was documented by Netlix’s “Amazing Interiors”, she has been nominated for the EbonyLife TV Sisterhood Awards for Entrepreneur of the year and received a recognition from leading Ladies Africa as one of 100 most inspiring women in Nigeria. She also won the 3rd City People Real Estate Awards for Architect of the Year 2017 and in January 2018 she joined the Board for The Lagos Theatre Festival with the British Council. In March 2019, she was awarded the Lord’s Achievers Awards for Creativity, in celebration of World Achievers Day. Oshinowo also won an award at Lagos Photo, 2011 amateur photography competition, sponsored by Etisalat Nigeria.
ABOUT CHRISSA AMUAH
Chrissa Amuah is a globally recognised textiles designer based in London, England who draws inspiration from her heritage in Ghana, Togo and Benin. Amuah is the Founder and Creative Director of AMWA Designs, an Adinkra-inspired luxury homeware and interiors textiles brand. In 2017, she established AFRICA BY DESIGN, an online platform and series of traveling exhibitions that showcases talent of sub-Saharan designers both on the continent and living abroad, creating international commercial opportunities for its featured designers.
Amuah’s 2015 installation at Milan Design Week gained global attention and she has been recognized as a “Rising Star” by the Black British Business Awards Consumer & Luxury Category in 2017. 2021 will present the launch of her collection with multi award winning, Bernhardt Design – one of America’s largest and most highly reputed textile and furniture manufacturers. Subsequently, she will collaborate with renowned architect, Alice Asafu-Adjaye, to represent Ghana for the London Biennale 2021. Just recently, Amuah was announced as a member of the Allgood Collective, as a brand ambassador for sustainable footwear brand, Allbirds.
Amuah is an MA graduate from the world-renowned Chelsea College of Art and Design, University of the Arts London.