Toyota design is having a ‘moment’ with Setsuna

Setsuna: All-wood concept

The latest example of Akio Toyoda’s focus on emotional styling — he’s trying to rid Toyota of its reputation for boring design — is a two-seat roadster made entirely from wood.

The Setsuna is a clean and well-proportioned concept that debuted at one of the world’s most prestigious design events, Milan Design Week in Italy.

Not planned for production, the Setsuna is built using different types of wood, most notably Japanese cedar for the exterior panels and Japanese birch for the frame. The wooden body and interior were built using a traditional Japanese joinery technique called okuriari that does not need nails or screws.

Toyota said the use of wood, a material that is durable but changes over time, reflects how a family car’s use changes as it is passed down through generations. The name, which means “moment” in Japanese, was chosen to reflect that people experience precious, fleeting moments together with their cars.

Rather than turn to one of its many styling centers, Toyota entrusted the concept’s creation to Kenji Tsuji, a project manager in the product planning department at Toyota’s headquarters in Aichi, Japan.

“When you look at the future, you have to also look beyond the environment and the digitalization of automobiles and try to recapture an emotional connection between the customer and the product,” Tsuji said.

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