Traditional African Craftsmanship Meets Innovation

Tosin Oshinowo and Chrissa Amuah create an artistic bronze alternative to the utilitarian face shield

by Archilovers
5 Love 2051 Visits

Lexus unveils a conceptual design collaboration with architect and designer Tosin Oshinowo and textiles and furniture designer Chrissa Amuah. In coordination with Design Miami/, ​Freedom to Move ​presents a collection of headpieces that explore the idea of protection and celebration, as well as functionality and ornamentation.


Inspired by the changes this year has brought worldwide, the headpieces are conceived as an alternative to the utilitarian face masks that have become ubiquitous, while artistically celebrating the collective desire to move through the world freely and confidently together. ​Freedom to Move ​is a reflection that is timely and culturally significant, aimed to be understood across cultures through its exploration of materials, textures, color and craftsmanship.


Chrissa Amuah and Tosin Oshinowo, photo by © Spark Creative



In keeping with the Lexus automotive experience and core values, ​Freedom to Move ​reconsiders human movement in this new world, creating a design that is elegant, functional, and luxurious. The headpieces fuse new innovations with lost techniques and bring together cultural references from across the world, including Japanese principles of design, ​omotenashi (exceptional hospitality) and ​takumi(expert craftsmanship), which were integral throughout the design process.


Freedom to Move by Tosin Oshinowo and Chrissa Amuah, inspired by Lexus. Egaro. Photo by Mark Cocksedge.



Collaborating in Lagos, Nigeria, where Oshinowo is based, the designers considered their context in Africa, in addition to the diversity of cultures around the world. With an understanding of today’s face mask and its functionality, Oshinowo and Amuah e​ xplored global history in which the head has always been a focal point for protection and adornment across cultures. Though rooted in history, the headpieces also nod to the future, signaling an unbounded and unending pursuit of advancement, innovation and discovery.

Freedom to Move by Tosin Oshinowo and Chrissa Amuah, inspired by Lexus. Pioneer Futures. Photo by Mark Cocksedge.


“As nomadic beings, it is unnatural to stand still, and we wanted to reconfigure how we move in a positive way in spite of the restrictions of motion the world now finds itself in,” commented Chrissa Amuah. “Our conceptual design makes a bold stride towards our new human existence and is enraptured in a marriage of ergonomics and spectacle,” said Tosin Oshinowo.



The three uniquely designed headpieces are titled; ​Egaro, Pioneer Futures, and ​Ògún, ​which have slight alterations, and integrate multiple materials such as brass, bronze, leather, and acrylic, with detailing of hand beading, laser etching and embroidery using the West African tinko method. Working by hand with artisans that use ancient craft techniques, was matched with the use of 3D printing and advanced technologies. All three of the mask designs feature transparent panels, which allow the wearer to overcome the challenges of communicating with limited facial expressions presented by typical protective masks.


Freedom to Move by Tosin Oshinowo and Chrissa Amuah, inspired by Lexus. Egaro. Photo by © Mark Cocksedge.


As a long term partner of Design Miami/, Lexus approached this year’s fair as an opportunity to reflect on the shared global condition, choosing a collaboration that is inspired by the brand’s human-centered approach, and reflects on the common desire for comfort, safety, and beauty as we collectively move towards a new future. For more than three decades, Lexus has demonstrated unwavering commitment to bold, uncompromising design, exceptional craftsmanship, and exhilarating performance. 


Freedom to Move by Tosin Oshinowo and Chrissa Amuah, inspired by Lexus. Egaro. Photo by © Mark Cocksedge.



Timed to Design Miami/, ​Freedom To Move i​s intended to reach audiences worldwide through a dynamic digital experience. In addition to partnering with a selection of content creators to showcase the headpieces from different global perspectives, Lexus has debuted a compelling three-part docuseries which follows Oshinowo and Amuah on location, bringing to life the personalities behind the collaboration and showcasing the design journey from sketch, concept generation to prototype and final production.

The three-part docuseries created by Spark Creative can be viewed online at ​




Cover image: Freedom to Move by Tosin Oshinowo and Chrissa Amuah, inspired by Lexus. Ogun. Photo by © Mark Cocksedge.