Toyota to present a wooden concept car at Milan Design Week

Concept Cars 14 Mar 2016

At the upcoming Milan Design Week Toyota will officially unveil Setsuna, an experimental show car made primarily of wood.


The goal of this material choice is to “be able to capture the developing relationship between people and their cars in the way it changes in appearance over the years.”

Toyota Setsuna Concept

“Setsuna’s surfaces will gradually transform, as if absorbing the hopes, memories and aspirations of successive generations of family.”

Toyota designers picked a variety of types of wood for different parts of the car, including the exterior panels, frame, floor and seats.

The design blends a two-seat, open wheel layout with a look influenced by the sportscar of the early 19th Century, while the wooden surfaces showcase a clear inspiration from the boat world.

While the idea of a long-lasting family car could be fascinating, the concept appears to be a designers’ divertissement, without any actual connection with the actual production line-up of the company.

The name Setsuna – which means ‘moment’ in Japanese – was chosen to reflect how people can experience special and memorable experiences with their cars. Toyota believes that, over time, these collective moments can give cars a significant place in their owners’ lives.

“[Setsuna] can last for many generations, if properly looked after, and its color and texture will change in response to its environment, particularly to temperature and humidity, and how it is used.”

Equipped with an electric motor, Setsuna is 3,030mm long and 1,480mm wide, 970mm. It will be on public view at 31 Via Tortona in Milan from 12 to 17 April with media day viewing on 11 April.

Official statements

Kenji Tsuji, the engineer overseeing Setsuna’s development, said: “We evaluated various ways to express the concept and selected different woods for specific applications, such as Japanese cedar for the exterior panels and Japanese birch for the frame.

“We also paid particular attention to the size and arrangement of individual parts and used a traditional Japanese joinery technique called okuriari, which doesn’t use any nails or screws. The completed body line expresses a beautiful curve reminiscent of a boat.

“We would also like the viewer to imagine how Setsuna will gradually develop a complex and unique character over the years. It includes a 100-year meter that will mark time across generations and seats that combine functionality with attractive, gentle hues of the wood.”

(Source: Toyota)

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