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Lexus gets some pumped up kicks



If there were a prize for most artistic tyre design, Lexus’s concept for the 2019 UX would be a shoe-in to win.

The new tyre design is inspired by Nike's Air Force One trainers, designed by John Elliot
(Image via Lee Funnel)

Envisioning the wheels as the sole of the car, the luxury automotive brand have teamed up with London-based industrial designer Tej Chauhan and Los Angeles streetwear and athleisure designer John Elliot to create a unique set of tyres inspired by the classic NikeLab Air Force 1 trainers.

The shoes - originally designed by Elliot - have a white-on-white ribbed design with the Nike Swoosh logo imprinted in the sides. Chauhan took inspiration from its wheel-like circular pattern to create a dynamic-looking tread that incorporates multiple textures and patterns in swirls and waves. 

The white tyre includes rubber imprints of the Nike logo and even the air valve is intended to evoke the metal lace tip of the trainers.

The 3D printed tyre had to be functional and hold up the weight of the Lexus 2019 UX as well as deliver the same style as the iconic Air Force 1 trainers
(Image via Lee Funnel)

Named “Sole of the UX”, the project was not as simple as merely designing a new tread pattern. It also had to be functional.

“I wanted to combine classic AF1 details and John Elliot’s signature elements with our emotive industrial design approach,” explained Chauhan.

“But as an art project it did also carry serious engineering demands, having to carry the full weight of the new Lexus UX." 

60 individual parts go into the design of each tyre
(Image via Lee Funnel)

To develop the design, Chauhan’s team collaborated with manufacturing company 3D Systems Benelux. Together they first created an internal structure that could support the weight of the car, using a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine. 

The exterior elements could then be crafted through a combination of 3D printing and hand-design, then pieced together on top.

“There were different material combinations - we used specialist rubberised paints, specially sourced premium tumbled leathers, and metal accent details,” said Chauhan.

“Each tyre consisted of 60 parts.”

The white tyre contrasts with the metallic black spokes of the UX’s wheel, with the Lexus logo in the centre.

We've yet to get tyred of coming up with wheely good puns for this
(Image via Lee Funnel)

The design was unveiled at the 2019 New York Fashion Week and unfortunately won’t be soled with the car.

But it’s an impressively stylish look that wheel likely inspire more designers to generate their own variations.

What do you think? Will the idea have tread, or is it time for the designers to retyre?

Let us know in the comments, or on the new EngineeringPro Community forum.

Recent Comments
I wouldn't touch anything with Nike on it with a bargepole after the stunt they pulled with that Kapernik worm
Ian Joel, 13 June 2019
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Lexus gets some pumped up kicks - Time to read 2 min
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