Lexus and adidas customise the all-new RX to celebrate Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

23 November 2022
  • adidas-developed custom wrap for the all-new Lexus RX creates an automotive extension of the Wakanda Forever capsule collection
  • adidas S.E.E.D. (School for Experiential Education in Design) students reimagine the RX’s interior, taking inspiration from the Marvel Studios movie, with mentorship from Lexus’s Calty Design Research
  • Students’ design realised by 3D printing company Carbon using breakthrough Carbon DLS digital light synthesising technology
  • Collaborative project filmed by Cami Thomas for a short documentary feature and celebrated with a limited-edition T-shirt designed by adidas S.E.E.D. students

Lexus has transformed its all-new RX 500h F Sport Performance, inspired by Marvel Studios’ new film, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. This unique version of the large luxury SUV has been created in a collaboration between Lexus’s Calty North American design centre, adidas, adidas S.E.E.D. (School for Experiential Education in Design) and 3D printing specialists Carbon, coinciding with the new movie’s worldwide release.

The project helps celebrate the recent launch of adidas’s Wakanda Forever collection by bringing its Black Panther designs into the automotive space. Created for the world’s best athletes, adidas’s performance sportswear embodies the question “What If… Wakanda had a national athletics team?”.

The RX has been given a full body wrap that builds on the custom identity adidas has envisioned for the fictional African nation. It features a tribal print in the signature Wakandan purple used throughout the adidas sportswear collection. The bonnet is inlaid with a diamond pattern inspired by the Black Panther’s claw necklace. Characters from the fictional Wakandan alphabet are used for the F Sport and Lexus badging, including the word “Vibe-Branium,” featured in the model’s name: the Lexus RX 500h Vibe-Branium AWD DIRECT4. 

Michael Moore, Lexus International General Manager, commented: “The all-new RX 500h is part of our expanding Lexus Electrified portfolio with evolved, innovative technology that elevates the driver’s experience. There’s an athleticism in the RX’s performance that makes it a perfect fit for joining the Wakanda Forever team.”

Students from adidas S.E.E.D. were challenged to reimagine the vehicle’s interior, inspired by the new movie sequel and were guided through the creative process by Calty Design Research, Lexus’s North American design centre, which provided workshops on Lexus design principles, creative processes, colours, materials and the power of collaboration.

The custom build features future-focused designs, textures and materials, with adidas’s custom Wakandan tribal gold print featured on the seat upholstery, door panel inserts and purple sections of the steering wheel. The F Sport door sill plate is translated in the Wakandan alphabet and the steering wheel is embroidered with “Wakanda Forever”. Key tactile areas such as the steering wheel pad and front and rear headrests are covered in the Carbon 3D printed energy-returning athletic shoe mid-sole material used in the adidas 4D-FWD. The front headrests include the Lexus logo and the rear centre headrest carries the adidas logo. A laser-cut wood finish around the shift lever and gold trim accents help create a distinctively Wakandan environment. 

The collaborative project has been recorded in a documentary short film by multi-talented visual storyteller Cami Thomas. Set for release on digital platforms, this feature is another example of Lexus’s mission to inspire and nurture emerging creative talent.

Alex Shen, Chief Designer at Calty Design Research, said: “Lexus, adidas and Black Panther may seem like brands that come from totally different worlds, but the thread that draws everything together is the pursuit and leadership in unique story-telling and innovative technology.”

Cheresse Thornhill-Goldson, Director, Design Education & Growth | S.E.E.D., adidas, added: “A critical aspect of our curriculum is “open-source” product creation where we partner 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 RX 500h Vibe-Branium Direct4 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.”

Carbon, an adidas partner since 2017, has revolutionised 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 meets specific performance needs. In addition, Carbon’s footprint on the silver screen contributing to costumes, animatronics and other-worldly environments make them the perfect partner to help realise the S.E.E.D students’ vision.

To celebrate the project, a limited-edition T-shirt has been designed by adidas S.E.E.D. students, which features an African proverb in Wakandan script, “Educate a Woman, Educate a Nation”, rendered in the traditional Japanese tategaki style. On the back of the shirt, the periodic table is transcribed in Wakandan, illustrating how the country’s vibranium resources helped it build its future-focused society.

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About Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever In Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), Shuri (Letitia Wright), M’Baku (Winston Duke), Okoye (Danai Gurira) and the Dora Milaje (including Florence Kasumba), fight to protect their nation from intervening world powers in the wake of King T’Challa’s death. As the Wakandans strive to embrace their next chapter, the heroes must band together with the help of War Dog Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) and forge a new path for the kingdom of Wakanda. Introducing Tenoch Huerta as Namor, king of a hidden undersea nation, the film also stars Dominique Thorne, Michaela Coel, Mabel Cadena and Alex Livinalli. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, directed by Ryan Coogler and produced by Kevin Feige and Nate Moore, is currently showing across Europe.


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Lexus and adidas customise the all-new RX to celebrate Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

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