Text: Eric Tipan / Photos: Toyota | posted March 07, 2016 08:33
The Toyota Setsuna to premiere at the Milan Design Week
Ever felt a connection with an automobile - a bond so strong that it felt difficult, even painful, to finally decide to sell it and upgrade to a new one.
Toyota touches on this heartstring and strums it with the global debut of a new concept vehicle that is made primarily of wood called the Setsuna.
Meaning ‘moment’, the Setsuna represents how a vehicle, under the charge of one group of people – a family perhaps, undergoes changes through the years as it somehow absorbs the family’s hopes, dreams, frustration, aspirations and their memories.
Toyota, with the Setsuna, wants to show that as a family uses and takes care of a vehicle while experiencing their highest highs and lowest lows with it, it will hold a certain value when they pass it on to the next generation that only members of the family can appreciate.
Different types of wood were used for various parts of the vehicle including the exterior panels, frame, floor, and seats as it provides more character to the vehicle. If maintained properly, it may change in color and texture but will last for a long time.
We evaluated various ways to express the concept and selected different lumber materials for specific applications, such as Japanese cedar for the exterior panels and Japanese birch for the frame. We also paid particular attention to the sizes and arrangements of individual parts. For the assembly structure, we adopted a traditional Japanese joinery technique called okuriari3 which does not use any nails or screws. The completed body line of the Setsuna expresses a beautiful curve reminiscent of a boat. We would also like the viewer to imagine how the Setsuna will gradually develop a complex and unique character over the years. The car includes a 100-year meter that will keep time over generations, and seats that combine functional beauty with the gentle hue of the wood," Kenji Tsuji, the Toyota engineer overseeing development of the Setsuna.