Lexus Australia has launched a design scholarship program to foster local designers in collaboration with the Melbourne Movement, a non-for-profit organization focusing on industrial design.
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With the Japanese company heavily focusing on modernizing its exterior and interior vehicle designs, there’s been a ground level movement to support the design industry around the world, which Lexus has taken on as a global initiative as part of its “Lexus Design Awards”.

Open to submissions from all over the world, the global Lexus Design Awards allow designers to submit their work online, with the simple brief of “motion”. A six-judge panel, which includes president of Lexus International Kiotaka Ise, will pick ten finalist to attend the Milan Design Week and of those ten, two will receive a five million yen grant (~$60,000) to create a prototype of their design.

In Australia the company will sponsor two leading designers a year to attend the Tokyo Designers Week with Lexus Australia committing $60,000 to the project over the next three years.

“Locally, Lexus Australia will ensure that young design stars of the future receive the opportunity they need to succeed via the Lexus Design Scholarship." said Lexus Australia Chief Executive Tony Cramb.

To kick things off, Lexus will use the Melbourne Cup to showcase the Lexus Design Pavilion, which hosts one of only two Lexus LF-LC concept cars as well as designs by 24 Australian designers, including everything from furniture to uniforms.

The company’s current design language, first showcased in its pure mass-production form in the new Lexus GS range, is filtering down to the rest of its model range and the company is taking the unprecedented move (for a Japanese manufacturer) of actually focusing attention on its designs.

Although Lexus doesn’t emphasis its design heritage, it has over its short 22-year history won numerous design awards, with one of its cars even displayed at the Guggenheim museum in New York.

“As a luxury marque, design and innovation is central to everything Lexus does – evident in the efforts of our master craftsmen or Takumi.”

The change in strategy comes as Lexus continues its strong efforts in brand building to combat three of the oldest and most prestigious manufacturers in the business.