Lexus has released the second in its film series celebrating craftsmanship, In Search of Takumi – Glass, showcasing the work of expert glassmaker Peter Layton. It follows the artist as he creates a sculpture inspired by design details in Lexus’s flagship LS saloon.
The new film can be viewed here: In Search of Takumi – Glass
The In Search of Takumi series illustrates parallels between the fine takumi craftsmanship featured in Lexus cars and the detailed work of highly skilled UK artisans. Each short film features a craftsperson creating works inspired by a different Lexus model and material.
Layton’s sculpture is inspired by the glass inserts that Japanese craftsman Toshiyasu Nakamura designed for the LS’s door panels using the traditional Japanese Kiriko technique. He also took cues from the LS’s signature spindle grille, one of the most complex Lexus has ever produced. Originally rendered by computer, the grille was hand-finished by another Lexus takumi craftsman, Yasuhiro Nakashima.
Commenting on the glittering Kiriko ornamentation, Layton said: “I thought it was stunning, beautiful. I knew it had taken a long time to design and make and my first thought was to emulate it in some way for our piece.”
There are also parallels between Layton’s career and that of his Japanese peers. It takes at least 25 years before a Japanese craftsman can achieve true takumi status. Layton began working with glass around 50 years ago and has been running his own London studio for most of that time.
Layton starts a project by sketching an initial design on a blowing iron, then produces a few clear versions to perfect the shape, before choosing a suitable technique to give the desired pattern. The painstaking process involves three layers of glass and a time-honoured Venetian technique – pastorale – to create the eye-catching interplay of blue and white glass in a criss-cross pattern.
It took several evolutions to create the final piece and hours of delicate refinements to achieve what Layton calls ‘The One’. He commented: “Glass is a magical medium and for me the most rewarding part of working with it is that voyage of discovery.”
Like the takumi who work in Lexus’s factories, Layton passes his knowledge and experience to the next generation: “I want the people I work with to be open to possibilities, which is why I really like this word takumi and think it applies to the way we work,” he said. “I don’t necessarily think there are barriers between art, craft and design, I see them as a whole package and I think that’s what takumi relates to, this unique input from each individual.”