Romantic, crazy or ingenious? Setsuna: The car made of wood. Built for generations!

MOBILITY/DESIGN: Actually, this concept, so arranged between toy and realistic, seriously constructed car, is ingenious.

To build something for generations – to receive something in return. The thought of this makes my heart beat a little faster as a designer. Away from the fast or rather mega-fast model change. Just to chase after trends. I think I’m like most people: if you don’t regularly look at the catalogues of popular car manufacturers, some model changes are so blatant that you think you’re with another brand. With this car, there is a certain deceleration. Whether it will make it onto the market remains to be seen. In any case, it is likeable. And the thought of it anyway.

At the 2016 design fair in Milan, Toyota presented a concept car that is somehow reminiscent of a soapbox, or at least evokes associations with one.The little wooden roadster is cute. But not only that, the idea behind it also corresponds to Japanese traditional thinking, where the word generation is part of it and family ownership plays a big role. In this case a car. It is passed on again and again and thus also imaginary sensations and experiences that have been collected with a vehicle over decades. That’s the idea behind it. And of course the years also change the character of the vehicle.

 

At least on the outside. Depending on the care, patina accumulates. A vehicle can acquire more character. Like a good wine that matures over years. That’s why Toyota’s engineers and designers have made this car out of wood. Birch and cedar wood promise to do the most justice to the change in character caused by the effects of weather and to give Setsuna the appropriate patina. Translated from Japanese, „Setsuna“ means „moment“, and in keeping with the Japanese Okuriari wood construction tradition, this three-metre-long roadster is built without nails or screws.

Equipped with an electric motor. As a special feature, the car gets a chronometer – a 100-year counter that is supposed to measure time for generations. That is the current state of affairs. How far Toyota will go with this concept remains to be seen. In any case, it is a charming concept, and not only stylistically.



virtualdesignmagazine / Autor Michael Hiller

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