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Designing with an Impact: Conversations with Interior Stylist Kitty Bunag and Designer Rosenthal Tee

Photo: @rosenthaltee and @kittybunag / Instagram

In the intersection of fashion, design, and sustainability, modern creatives Bunag and Tee share their perspectives on the Lexus RZ

In recent times, cars have transcended their role as a means of transportation. And in the wake of growing environmental concerns, the need for sustainable design has become imperative. This marriage of functionality and aesthetics aims to strike a balance that promotes the well-being of humans and harmony with the environment.

Just as designers curate experiences and create the ideal balance between form and function, the automotive industry has also embraced this philosophy. Much like fashion and art, they have become a representation of one’s personality, lifestyle, and personal brand—a facet that Lexus takes to heart. 

Going beyond aesthetics, the introduction of the Lexus RZ marks a significant milestone for the renowned Japanese luxury automobile brand. With their latest model, Lexus has embraced the future of electric transportation by transitioning to a purely Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV). As the flagship of the brand’s electric lineup, the RZ embodies Lexus’ distinctive design language while placing a strong emphasis on sustainability and optimal weight distribution.

This common ground of commitment to sustainability echoes interior stylist-photographer Kitty Bunag and fashion designer Rosenthal Tee’s advocacy. Bunag’s Raw Honey Lab promotes retail products that meet stringent environmental and ethical standards. Aside from sourcing sustainable materials for her atelier, Tee also shares this sentiment through her 2020 exhibit “In The Spaces Between” which delves into the relationships between nature and human existence.

Kitty Bunag interacting with a cork design piece
Photo: @kittybunag / Instagram
Rosenthal Tee posing beside her art piece
Photo: @rosenthaltee / Instagram

By aligning their artistic pursuits with Lexus’ eco-friendly technologies and responsible manufacturing, these artists exemplify the importance of preserving and nurturing our environment.

So how does the new Lexus electric vehicle hold up in the streets of Manila? Vogue Philippines asked Bunag and Tee to share their experiences with the RZ and how it has transformed their driving journeys, immensely enhancing their time behind the wheel.

First impressions matter

“I value how I use my time and energy nowadays more than ever. Having a vehicle that focuses on all aspects that understands this, elevates the driving experience beyond mere transportation,” says Raw Honey Lab founder Bunag. She continues, “This is very parallel to what I do for a living—striving to create a soulful sustainable experience through responsible consumerism and caring for the environment and community as top of mind.”

Kitty Bunag posing beside the Lexus RZ in black and white
Photo: @kittybunag / Instagram

With a personal profound commitment to eco-conscious living, the interior stylist-photographer recognizes the Lexus RZ’s embodiment of opulence beyond extravagance, utilizing advanced features that seamlessly merge comfort and technology with a holistic driving experience.

In terms of practicality and functionality, Bunag recognizes the importance of its impeccable connectivity features, climate control systems, and advanced safety features that the Japanese luxury automobile brand incorporated into the RZ. She declares, “All senses touched in the best way possible.”

For fashion designer Tee, a feature that stood out to her as a driver is how the Lexus electronic vehicle flagship operates smoothly. “It’s noticeably quieter. I find the drives—despite Manila traffic—to be quite stress-free. Perhaps [it is] also in the way the interior was designed to be as comfortable as possible for the user.”

The silver gray Lexus RZ parked by a port

All in the details

Powered by DIRECT4 all-wheel-drive system, the Lexus RZ was crafted “to feel like an extension of oneself.” It also features an innovative audio system that provides real-time updates on the car’s performance, ensuring you remain informed about your RZ’s condition.

Moreover, the exterior design exudes the futuristic practices that Lexus envisions in the electric vehicle market. With a focus on improved aerodynamics, optimized proportions, and style, the traditional spindle grills from previous models have now been turned into a BEV Spindle Body. Even the plush, modern cabin utilizes sustainable materials, embodying the sustainable mobility message of the Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs). Overhead, the panoramic roof also creates space, allowing for an airy cabin interior.

The black, gray, and silver interiors of the Lexus RZ
Photo courtesy of Lexus

“The artistry involved in crafting the Lexus RZ—from the detail in the upholstery stitching to the ambient lighting, the high-quality sound system, the eco-friendly zero-emission performance, the serene and quiet ride, and most notably, the car’s ability to adapt to its user—enhances the sense of luxury that we in the creative industry always long for,” says Bunag.

Identifying with the way the automotive brand thoughtfully comes up with design features, Tee feels that she and Lexus are aligned with taking conscientious leaps into a sustainable future. She shares, “As a designer, I’m equally conscious of the waste we produce in garments production so it is all the more vital now that I pre-disposition myself and the team with the mindset of lowering the amount of excess and waste.”

Photo: @rosenthaltee / Instagram

For Bunag and Tee, the experience of driving the Lexus RZ entices the sense, of offering a true fusion of sustainability and luxury. Its appeal extends beyond the automotive realm, beckoning creatives with its sleek design and environmentally-safe performance. Be it a statement of personal style or a means of eco-conscious travel, the Lexus RZ sets the bar for eco-friendly vehicles that deliver what every driver desires—speed, comfort, and the future in mind.
For more information, visit Lexus’ official website.

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