Luxury lifestyle brand Lexus announced earlier this year its newest five-year sponsorship property as principal partner of the Victorian Racing Club and naming rights sponsor of the Melbourne Cup – the race that stops the nation™.

The Lexus Design Pavilion will this year take pole position within the world-famous Birdcage at Flemington Racecourse, guided by the concept of ‘Utopia’ – an experiential state that elevates the guest experience to a place in which everything is sublime.

A curated collection of Australian artisans in emerging and established disciplines have been brought together to create an experiential masterpiece that combines world-class design with exhilarating dining and hospitality experiences across Derby, Cup, Oaks and Stakes Day.

The guest experience begins the moment the Lexus luxury vehicle fleet transport them to the track. Arriving at the new, black pavilion structure, the bold and minimalist exterior is juxtaposed with a stimulating and texturally rich interior. It is inspired by the craftsmanship within every Lexus vehicle, including the UX – the brand’s all-new luxury compact SUV that will be shown to the public for the first time in Australia ahead of going on sale in late November 2018.

The three-story structure is an evolution of Joost Bakker’s ‘Futurecave’. It is a natural light filled space that has been reinterpreted with ‘The Gallery’ on Level One. It will showcase Lexus’ LF-1 Limitless – a dramatic concept vehicle that showcases the potential for a future Lexus flagship crossover – alongside a 2.5 by 2.5 metre horse sculpture by internationally renowned artist Anna-Wili Highfield that celebrates the amalgamation of horse racing and automotive.

Greeted at the pavilion by a grand staircase, guests will ascend to an open oasis that overlooks the track. The expansive balcony is an uninterrupted vista from the internal space to the track that is softened with Japanese natives by Australian landscape architect Jack Merlo.

As guests move through the pavilion, they will interact with bespoke lighting and furniture pieces by Melbourne-based designers Volker Haug Studio and Grazia & Co. Exploring textures and tones, Studio Twocan has moulded two ombre coloured concrete dining tables that act as the focal point of the Level Three dining room. Florals throughout the pavilion by Cecilia Fox will draw focus and attention to the natural design detail of the blooms through oversized magnification glass pieces suspended from the ceiling.

Lexus design ambassador and acclaimed industrial designer Henry Wilson said: “The Lexus Design Pavilion is one of Australia’s superior design events. Each year, Lexus evolves the harmony between Japanese humility and craftsmanship – reflected in the choice of exceptional collaborators and the new structure itself.”

Cuisine remains a firm focus for Lexus to provide peak culinary experiences for guests. Chef of one of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants and Lexus culinary ambassador, Ben Shewry, will create a boundary-pushing dessert called Black Ant Lamington – an ice cream lamington with black Australian ants and coconut paired with chocolate grown and hand made in Daintree Forest of Queensland.

On Level One, progressive new Melbourne restaurant Future Future will serve guests reinterpreted Japanese favourites including a Katsu-sando and ice-cream mochi and will include an outward facing sparkling iced tea bar for passers by in the Birdcage enclosure.

Lexus’ culinary ambassador and celebrated Australian chef Neil Perry will provide a casual and informal offering to pavilion guests on Level Two. Standout dishes include Spanner crab with wasabi tartlet, Hiramasa kingfish, sesame and togarashi on nori crisp and for later in the day, signature dishes from The Burger Project –cheeseburger and fries with chipotle salt and mayonnaise.

Meanwhile on Level Three, the Lexus Design Pavilion will house the largest ever seated dining room within a Birdcage pavilion, holding up to 76 guests at one time. Directed by Chef Shaun Quade of Lume, the artful and refined culinary experts will serve a four-course menu, showcasing their master craftsmanship through food, as Lexus does with its vehicles.

Further unique moments will be presented within the pavilion – guests can be photographed by esteemed Australian photographer Lauren Bamford, to a powder room and touch-up bar by MECCA Cosmetica and personalised race books by The Letterettes.

‘The 2018 Lexus Design Pavilion will welcome guests to experience an unprecedented level of excellence across every aspect – from design to culinary. Our new pole position within the Birdcage celebrates the Lexus Melbourne Cup as the fourth ever principal partner of the Victoria Racing Club in its 157-year history. It reaffirms our pledge to progressive luxury and amazing experiences,’ said Lexus Australia chief executive Scott Thompson.

Exclusive to the Lexus Design Pavilion throughout the carnival is the automotive brand’s influential raft of ambassadors, led by Derby Day special guest Elle Macpherson.

Lexus brand ambassadors include racing royalty Emma Freedman and Kate Waterhouse, media personality and businesswoman Megan Gale, eminent chefs Ben Shewry and Neil Perry, two-time NRL premiership-winning player Anthony Minichiello and two-time Rugby World Cup winning captain John Eales.

Source: Lexus