Lexus builds a full-size car out of cardboard -- and yeah, it drives

It will be easy for Lexus to recycle its Origami Car when it's done with it. The car is made from precision-cut cardboard.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser

Lexus Origami Car
Pop it into the recycle bin when you're done. Lexus

When you look at a piece of origami art, you probably see a crane, an owl, a butterfly or a fish. Lexus saw a whole car.

Lexus UK re-created its IS sedan in an unusual medium: cardboard.

Inspired by the art of origami, the recyclable sculpture required 1,700 pieces of cardboard, each one precision-shaped to work with the others. Even the wheels are made from cardboard. And yes, they roll.

Lexus builds a full-size cardboard car (pictures)

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The car isn't just a solid block. A steel and aluminum frame hides underneath. The doors open, the interior is complete with seats and cup holders. It's fitted with headlights. Even more impressive is the inclusion of an electric motor that allows it to be driven, though it might not pass as street-legal.

Lexus partnered with UK design firms LaserCut Works and Scales and Models to create the one-off vehicle. They worked with a digital 3D model of the original IS. The cardboard is laser-cut in 10mm-thick (less than half an inch) slices. It was assembled by hand, and wood glue keeps it all together.

The Origami Car won't likely be doing any laps around a test course or driving to the grocery store. It's really a work of art, meant to be seen and admired, and it's definitely a clever way to see a car in a different light. The lines of the design really stand out when you're not distracted by paint, chrome and technical specifications.