The pattern on the evolved, iconic spindle grille is of such delicate complexity, it required an unusually high level of human skill in both the design and fabrication stages to complete. From computer screen to finished product, constant artisan involvement ensured the beauty of the designer’s original vision was fully expressed.

The new design features a single intricate span of interlocking Lexus ‘L’ motifs, a web-like tapestry inspired by the fine delicate patterns of those found in nature.

While the computer modelling program rendered the pattern with reasonable accuracy, completing the precise design required a human eye. Augmenting the computer render was a skilled design modeller in an unprecedented display of dedication to detail, working a typical eight hour day over a six month period to individually adjust the curved surfaces of five thousand motifs on-screen. Now complete, the intricate, computer-rendered pattern – finished by meticulous human manipulation into a work of art – continues its journey in the hands of a metal mold Takumi craftsman.

“Takumi” describes a craftsperson with the highest levels of technical skill and precise application, honed over decades of experience in his or her field of expertise. Yasuhiro Nakashima has spent twenty-seven years learning and honing his craft – filing, shaping and polishing metal molds to extremely exact levels.

LS Spindle Grille
I want those who see the grille to appreciate the design and to feel wonder over its creation, I want them to be amazed at first glance.
Yasuhiro Nakashima, Lexus spindle grille Takumi master craftsman

The uncommonly large single grille required the finished mold to be structurally sound while also accurately reflecting the finely detailed design. The machines and processes used to create the mold are amongst the very best available anywhere but – reflecting the same human factor in the design – finishing with absolute accuracy necessitated a remarkable human skill. With his customized toolset and experienced eye, Nakashima is able to refine surface smoothness to within 100 microns (0.1 millimeter) – a difference even the best robotic milling technology cannot detect. During the finishing he also anticipates details technology cannot, polishing by hand the minute individual surfaces in directions that improve the reflective aesthetic of the grille’s final coating.

Nakashima and Koichi Suga, Lexus Project Chief Designer with the Lexus spindle grille mold.
Some of Nakashima’s hand-made tool set.

Lexus has redefined its flagship sedan and set it apart from the competition with unique, imaginative design and elevated levels of craftsmanship that make the impossible, a reality. And that story begins at the front, with the completely reimagined spindle grille.

Footnotes LS Sports Luxury model shown.