FUTURE FORWARD: The Prius Dabs into Modern Art

In June, Toyota brazenly defied the stereotypical mold of how cars are advertised.

The Japanese brand brilliantly partnered with Vice’s Creators Project in developing their “Future Forward” program, a digital and experiential program designed to push the boundaries of innovation. Together, Toyota and The Creators Project enlisted artists and design collectives to create installations ‘inspired by a particular theme of the new Prius’ — these themes, according to The Creators Project, are cutting-edge technology, design and eco-heritage.

Three design studios were commissioned: Doris Sung, VT Pro Design and Nonotak. The dynamic installations created by each studio then travelled to Future Forward events in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Doris Sung created Drift, a heat-responsive chandelier. As reported by The Creators Project, Sung composed the sculpture with about 1,100 pieces of thermal-bimetal that move in response to the heat of theatrical lights. Sung described the sculpture’s behavior to Fast Cocreate as “that of perpetual motion… essentially programmed through the use of this material technology.”

In exploring the theme of eco-heritage design, VT Pro Design created a hybrid living wall, which they described to Fast Cocreate as “a free-standing, organic living sculpture that lives and breathes on its own, but also invites interaction” by using sensor technology to allow the sculpture’s reactions to be driven by the audience.

Nanotak’s Hoshi installation was an immersive “infinity room” created by the duo of illustrator Naomi Schipfer and architect/musician Takami Nakamoto. Inspired by the theme of design in the all-new Prius, Hoshi was an interactive experience that played with lights, space and sound.

Open RSVPs were available to the public for the Future Forward events and for those who could not attend, behind-the-scenes video and editorial content was available on The Creators Project. In the theme of inspiring innovation and the spirit of #ToyotaGiving, Toyota also invited undeserved Los Angeles middle schoolers to view the installations.

I consider the partnership between Toyota and The Creators Project to indeed be a triumph of innovation. Through the medium of culture, Toyota connected with consumers and dabbed into the art world’s current minimalist frenzy. In doing so, the car manufacturer captivated the attention of people who might not necessarily be car fanatics while simultaneously leveraging their band as a sleek and tech-savvy.

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