A week ago, I attended the opening of INTERSECT BY LEXUS in the Aoyama district of Tokyo, Japan. Like many of you, I had seen the photos and watched the videos, but even so, I wasn’t sure what to expect.
Right from the start, the INTERSECT building makes a strong impression — the bamboo spindle grilles that define the exterior appearance appear to be spun from gold, and manages to stand out in an area of Tokyo famed for its unusual architecture:
Enter the building, and there’s a bar serving coffee from Norway — this was the central meeting spot of the building, and where the camera crews and reporters congregated. Very crowded, I didn’t get any decent photos — here’s one of the official images of the area:
As you can see from the photo, the LF-CC concept was on display in the very back of the first floor — this is an area Lexus calls The Garage:
The vehicle on display will change periodically, but it will always be a Lexus concept or special edition model like the LFA — a mass-market production vehicle will never be featured.
This makes The Garage the single most important room in INTERSECT for Lexus enthusiasts, as it’s an opportunity to get close to a near-priceless vehicle in a way that’s not even possible at an autoshow.
There’s a VIP bar in the basement level, and it was a strict no-photo zone — the room resembled a cave, with a curved wooden roof and very little light. The level of detail was amazing, with carbon-fiber tables & Lexus leather bench seating — however, the standout feature was a wall-length hand drawn illustration depicting famous landmarks around the world.
(The reason no photos were allowed in the VIP bar was to maintain exclusivity, to make entering a special event. In a way, I like the idea of a secret room in the basement, but it would have been nice to share some images.)
The stairs to the second floor is an experience all on its own, with the entire right wall covered in whitewashed parts from the LFA, LS, GS, IS & RX, all behind glass:
This was my favorite part of the whole building — visually impressive and incredibly expansive, the white wall reinforces INTERSECT’s purpose as a representation of Lexus.
I spent the plenty of time staring at the assorted parts, trying to sort out which model it belonged to — it’s an amazing thing, and will be featured in all future INTERSECTs.
The second floor starts with the CRAFTED FOR LEXUS, an assortment of accessories created by Japanese artisans — this video shows off the items much better than my photos:
It’s a beautifully curated collection, with a level of detail that manages to reflect the characteristics of Lexus without necessarily being car-related — that said, it’s very expensive due to the items being small-batch runs and handmade (for the most part).
Round the corner, and it’s a bistro with an extensive library of car & design related books:
Between the coffee bar downstairs and the restaurant upstairs, INTERSECT captures the comfort & accommodation you might expect from a Lexus dealership, but it’s at a whole other level — the hospitality feels right at home in Japan, and would be a reason to visit on its own.
The final part of the tour is unusual — both the basement and second floor bathrooms are decorated with die-cast cars:
(This is the first time in my life I ever photographed a toilet.)
Hidden alongside all the cars in the basement bathroom is a very special LFA signed by Akio Toyoda:
So much has been made about INTERSECT being an “unique space”, or a “boutique gallery” — these are unfamiliar concepts that are difficult to explain, particularly when it comes from an automotive brand.
It’s clear that Lexus is undergoing a transformation. It started with the introduction of the fourth-generation GS, continued throughout the lineup, and has now brought massive lifestyle-driven initiatives like Lexus Short Films, the Design Awards, and now INTERSECT BY LEXUS & the CRAFTED FOR LEXUS collection.
There are concrete reasons why a Lexus enthusiast would want to visit — the concept car is a killer feature, the white Lexus parts make for a staggering display, and the coffee is superb — but there’s something more, something deeper happening within the glass walls.
I didn’t understand the purpose until I walked in the front door, but now it’s clear — this is the home of Lexus, a tangible representation of the brand’s emerging personality and a reflection of what it wants to mean to its customers.
INTERSECT BY LEXUS is now open, and is free to enter.
I mentioned it in my live coverage of the INTERSECT opening, but at a special event the night before, I met Toyota president Akio Toyoda for the first time — I gave him my business card, he gave me this sticker:
The conversation was brief — we talked about the two-tone LFA I photographed last year, and touched on some basic details about my website. It was an incredible moment, perhaps the greatest single thing that has happened since starting this website six years ago.
For this, I have to thank my readers — it would not have been possible without your support. I also have to thank the Lexus International team for arranging my visit and their hospitality during my trip.