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Lexus Makes Working, Origami-Inspired Car from Cardboard

While most companies use cardboard as simply a means to ship things from place to place, Lexus has had its mind set on something much bigger.

The luxury car company's UK division recreated a full-size version of its IS sedan from over 1,700 pieces of laser-cut cardboard, and it’s not just a pretty art demo -- it actually runs. Despite the mostly recyclable build, which includes working wheels, seats and steering wheel, Lexus had to make a few concessions by using more substantial materials for the frame, headlights and electric engine.

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Lexus said the cardboard IS was inspired by the art of origami, and after taking a quick look at the intricate pattern of lines and contours, it definitely shows. LaserCutWorks, the company that helped make the car, said it thought long and hard about how to use the multiple textures of corrugated cardboard to convey a sense of movement.

Using a 3D model of the original IS as a starting point, the origami car was later hand crafted using cardboard cut from 10mm-thick sheets and held together by old-fashioned wood glue.

While this seems like a one-off showpiece, the lasting message is that through a combination of technology and human creativity, it’s possible to make plenty of exciting and unusual designs. By the way, whatever happened to that cloth-skinned BMW?