Lexus Hybrid Living
Eco-Friendly Art and Design Alliance
Lexus, known primarily as a luxury car company, began a journey two years ago to extend the boundaries of its brand. It created a stand-alone website, lexushybridliving.com, entering into partnerships with companies known for environmentally friendly luxury goods and services. It’s an ongoing project by Lexus to bring “ethical luxury” to the public, says Brian Bolain, the Lexus national engagement marketing manager. The website is part of a long-term strategy where “every element of our entire company, from production to logistics and sales, is actively looking at ways to improve our environmental efficiency,” explains David Nordstrom, Lexus’ vice president of marketing.
“Overall, it [the website] helps reinforce Lexus’ commitment to the environment,” adds Bolain. And “it’s a place for Lexus owners and others to discover new products that appeal to them aesthetically and environmentally,” says Nordstrom.
Looking for luxury that doesn’t ruin the planet? Lexus has choices right at your fingertips: fashions, restaurants, hotels, spas, furniture, architecture, health and beauty, food and wine, housewares and art. Each company or service is involved in practices that generate less toxins or waste to the environment.
Partner Kelly LaPlante of Organic Interior Design has provided her clients with recycled, toxin-free, and sustainable materials such as bamboo flooring and eco-friendly fabrics long before it was politically correct to be green. Lexus asked her to design the LHL suites at the Fairmont Hotel’s Washington, D.C. and San Francisco locations, where she has created a coffee table for the décor partially using remnants from a Lexus car and also incorporated ecologically sensitive furniture from hybrid partners Kenneth Corbonpue and the Q Collection.
“Lexus is a company that truly cares about being green,” says
LaPlante. “Yes, they are a corporation and they make cars. But a lot of corporate money is then put into their LHL program and into investing in their partners.” Another recent pet LaPlante project is a book, Ecologique: The Style of Sustainable Design, a compilation of the designer’s eco-friendly spaces sponsored by Lexus and printed on acid-free paper and with soy based inks. Found at www.organicdesign.com, it enables LaPlante to donate 100 percent of her proceeds to green initiatives.
Partner Coyuchi is dedicated to the production of luxury bedding made in India only from 100-percent certified organic cotton without the use of pesticides. Up to 200 chemicals might be used on a single cotton plant in one growing season in the United States, where billions of pounds of cotton are grown every year. 25 percent of all insecticide used in farming is used in the production of cotton.
Coyuchi (www.coyuchi.com) has worked for the last 17 years since its start with suppliers that keep their crop healthy and more resistant to infestation. Instead of pesticides, their growers use good bugs to eat bad bugs. “We’re changing the world one bed at a time,” says Christine Nielson, president and CEO of Coyuchi. Her product can be found in the bedrooms of the LHL suites at various Fairmont Hotel locations. “Altogether, it’s been a wonderful collaboration. We’ve had access to a string of opportunities that are mutually beneficial,” she says.
For those interested in putting their money where their mouth
is, there’s LHL partner Cowgirl Creamery (www.cowgirlcreamery.com). Artisanal cheese is about as removed from cars as it gets, but the process is similar to making fine wine. Owners Sue Conley and Peggy Smith consider themselves stewards of the land, having close contact with the animals that supply the raw materials and knowing the pastures where they graze. It all comes down to taking care of the land in order to provide a superior, healthful product, giving people an opportunity to go along for the ride. And that’s where Lexus fits into the picture, isn’t it?