Lexus is serious about sustainable living. So serious that it has gone beyond the creation of luxury hybrid vehicles into the realm of curating a series of hybrid living concepts.
The company’s hybrid living website features various products, services, restaurants, and travel destinations that align with both the world of luxury and the world of sustainability (hence the “hybrid living” title). The site is sort of an online magazine that’s chock full of eco-luxe tidbits – fashion, art, transportation, architecture… all designed to show visitors that sustainable living doesn’t have to be all vegan and hemp.
Most recently, Lexus partnered with the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco to create a Lexus Hybrid Living Suite. The suite was redesigned by Lexus and eco-savvy interior decorator Kelly LaPlante, and features an array of eco-friendly materials and furnishings for travelers seeking to minimize their carbon footprints without having to sacrifice luxury accommodations. Some notable features of the room include:
- Benjamin Moore’s Aura Paints, which have a lower VOC (volatile organic compound) content than traditional paints, improving indoor air quality
- Sofas and pillows designed Kelly LaPlante and the Q Collection, which feature non-toxic woods, finishes, adhesives, fabrics
- A custom ottoman/coffee-table upholstered with reclaimed leather from Lexus manufacturing facilities (a brilliant tie-in)
- Wool rugs dyed with vegetable-based natural dyes
- 100% organic cotton bedding by Coyuchi
- Nandina bamboo/organic cotton bath robes that are super-soft, luxurious, and eco-friendly
Guests staying in the suite enjoy access to a Lexus LS600h L Hybrid sedan during their stay, and also receive a special guidebook and podcast with eco-friendly destinations throughout San Francisco. The suite goes for nearly $900 per night. A second Hybrid Living Suite will open in the fall at the Fairmont’s Washington D.C. location.
Some might dismiss the whole Hybrid Living initiative as gimmicky, and those people are certainly entitled to their opinion. But regardless of what critics think, I think we can agree that the whole initiative is well thought out and exceptionally well-aligned with the Lexus brand.
Granted, the company’s flagship is a relatively fuel-innefficient V8 Hybrid sedan (the LS 600h L costs over $100,000 and gets a city/highway mileage rating in the low 20s). But the vehicle is a statement – a symbol of progress in some respects. It’s incredibly luxurious and technologically sophisticated, and it attains performance ratings (top speeds, horsepower, torque, etc.) comparable to vehicles that are far worse for the environment (Lexus claims the LS600h L is 70% more efficient than competitive models from BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz). Essentially, the hybrid engine in this vehicle is designed to give the car the power of a V12 with the efficiency and use of an V8.
But let’s not get lost in the numbers. Lexus is trying to help its customers cope with the relatively newfound eco-imperative. The company understands that consumers can’t be expected to give up their luxuries and creature-comforts all at once, and is creating a line of vehicles and experiences that help consumers transition their lifestyles into more of a happy medium between luxurious excess and environmentalism. Furthermore, by curating a whole series of goods and services that align with this eco-luxury strategy, Lexus is doing its target consumers a favor by educating them on their options for better living.
No, it’s not perfect. But it’s a good start.