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How Lexus Is Selling Lexus Without Having to Sell Cars

The spaces are by interior designer Masamichi Katayama, founder of the design firm Wonderwall. The company declined to reveal how much it is spending to design the spaces.

And while each location will be slightly different in look and design, they will have similar elements -- a cafe, library lounge and garage gallery space, Nicklas says.

"The library lounge is a place to collaborate, hang out and enjoy a great drink, perhaps do business and socialize," he says. "The garage gallery space is where you will see a Lexus product. But it will never be a current product. It will always be a prototype or concept vehicle."

The library lounge will be a space Lexus uses to connect with the community, Nicklas says. In New York that may involve holding exhibitions tied to Fashion Week, the International Contemporary Furniture Fair or other large events Lexus is routinely involved with. The library lounge space may also be used to connect with a host city through philanthropic events.

The shop on the second floor of the Intersect by Lexus in Tokyo sells small-lot items, many handcrafted, Nicklas says. The New York shop will likely carry some of the items made by Tokyo artisans, as well by New York artists.

Nicklas emphasizes that the spaces are less about selling to customers and more about inspiring and connecting. At the same time, he was hesitant to label the spaces a museum or art gallery, saying the spaces are meant to inspire a sense of "community" while highlighting Lexus' design sensibilities.

"It's really about design -- from fashion to industrial design, to even cuisine and how food is prepared," Nicklas says. "It's really about those intricate details that have made Lexus what it is, and it's about accentuating that."

"The spaces themselves are going to be fantastic and full of surprises," Nicklas says. "Not only in terms of how they are designed, but also in terms of the activations we do. The idea is you come in one day, into the gallery and or to eat some food and get one thing, and then come back another time and see something else. And each time you're getting a surprising experience from Lexus."
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