Words By Marc Cater
Cadillac, renowned for its legacy in the luxury automotive realm, is poised for a transformative era with the launch of an entire fleet of elegant electric vehicles. In the pursuit of providing an unparalleled experience, Cadillac has unveiled a new design hub, the Cadillac House at Vanderbilt, situated within the heart of the General Motors Technical Center in Warren, Michigan.
I was lucky to be part of a small group of media to spend some time at this avant-garde establishment, named in honor of the trailblazing automotive designer Suzanne Vanderbilt, a rare female talent in the 1950s, stands as a testament to Cadillac’s commitment to innovation. Vanderbilt, acclaimed for crafting two iconic Cadillac models, the 1958 Eldorado Seville Coupe known as Baroness, and the Cadillac Saxony convertible, left an indelible mark on the brand’s design heritage.
The Cadillac House serves as a dedicated space for the customization of the new electric flagship Celestiq. Here new owners are taken through a bespoke design consultation by a concierge, ensuring a personalized touch to their automotive masterpiece. To offer a glimpse into the exclusive experience awaiting Cadillac’s elite patrons, I had the privilege of exploring the process firsthand during a visit to Detroit.
Designed against the backdrop of GM’s Global Technical Center, a National Historic Landmark recognized for its mid-century design, the Cadillac House seamlessly fuses engineering and artistry. The exterior showcases a single-story structure with a panoramic glass curtain wall, paying homage to mid-century design elements with terrazzo slabs, wood panels, and stainless steel detailing. Erin Crossley, Cadillac’s design director of vehicle interiors, aptly describes the Cadillac House as “at the intersection of engineering and artistry.”
The interior exudes a minimalist ambiance, featuring designated spaces for inspiration, complete with cabinets displaying a myriad of materials—leather, fabric, paint, carpet, and more. A lounge area offers a retreat for buyers to contemplate their choices, while a design library beckons on the opposite side. Mood boards guide clients through 350,000 customization options for the Celestiq, blending elements like carpet, wood, metal, deco, and leather.
The rear section of the building, once a kitchen, has been transformed into a workshop equipped with specialized sewing machines, tools, and 3-D printers dedicated to crafting the Celestiq’s cabin. Bryan Nesbitt, executive director, of Global Cadillac Design, emphasizes the personalized nature of the process, stating, “Every Celestiq is personally commissioned, and working on-site with our Cadillac designers provides clients an elevated experience.”
In essence, the Cadillac House stands as a symbol of Cadillac’s commitment to offering a unique and elevated experience, setting itself apart from competitors. The Celestiq, heralding this new era, marks just the beginning of Cadillac’s audacious journey toward redefining luxury in the automotive landscape.