Lexus Marries Art With Design At City Events

Lexus is marrying art and design in a series of multi-city lifestyle programs to promote its new LS sedan (the car that parallel-parks itself), which will have a hybrid version next year.

The efforts are being overseen by Brian Bolain, who moved to the Lexus brand from sibling Scion, as Lexus's national interactive and contextual marketing manager in August.

In September, Lexus launched to help support Lexus' hybrid versions of the RX SUV and vehicles. Bolain said the hybrid effort started with consumer events in New York, San Francisco and Chicago this year.

For the LS, Lexus is taking a similar tack, but with a high-art theme: bringing so-called "pop-up" art galleries to New York, Miami and Chicago, following an initial installation in Los Angeles last week that attracted about 4,500 people. Situated in Beverly Hills, it ran for two weeks and included video and contemporary art.

A new Web site at serves as an online kiosk to the shows. The galleries are being curated by New York-based Sebastien Agneessens, whose agency Formavision has also created such events as the Starbucks Salon and Diesel Denim gallery.



Each will have the LS sedan onsite, but displayed in an original way. Lexus brought in a company called Obscura Digital, which does projection video, to create an effect making it appear as if the car is moving.

The show will "pop up" off New York's Bryant Park for two weeks starting Nov. 13th, and then move to Miami, where the gallery will coincide with Miami's Art Bustle. The event will appear in Chicago in January.

Competitor Audi recently launched a permanent gallery space on New York's Park Avenue called Audi Forum, which displays Audi vehicles and offers space for marketing partners like Bang & Olufsen to hold events.

Bolain said he has had calls pitching that very idea to Lexus. "There's a persistent real estate agent with that idea, but it's the first time we have dipped our toe in the water for a space that's ours; so, I think we have to analyze it first," he said.

Lexus may also take to other cities a separate large-scale art installation featuring LS that ran in New York's World Financial Center from Oct. 16-20. That display began with what looked like a large box in the center of the plaza.

Designed by New York firm nArchitects, the display had removable opaque pieces from which the shape of the LS had been hollowed out. Each day some of the opaque pieces were removed to reveal more and more of the car. On the last day of the exhibit, the real vehicle was revealed.

Bolain said the next year will bring a new area on with an expanded lifestyle theme, targeting both owners and prospects.

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