Friday, June 24, 2016

Brands/Auto: inside Cadillac House

Cadillac House is one of the brand’s most public-facing initiatives and a signal that they're serious about being part of its new home in NYC. We got an exclusive look at the experiential space with John Bricker, a Partner and the Creative Director atGensler, who has worked with Cadillac for the last several years to rethink (and bring to life) their dealerships and new NYC HQ.

Cadillac has a few goals: to actively engage with NYC’s cultural scene and be a part of their west SoHo neighborhood. Of course, they want to attract new people to the brand too, and see Cadillac House as a means of creating a dialog with them. There's a coffee bar, a retail space for up-and-coming designers, a gallery supporting artists with their less commercial work, frequent programming and a place to hang out or work. Melody Lee, Cadillac’s Director of Brand Marketing, says that “While Cadillac product will be featured prominently, Cadillac House is more about placing the brand at the heart of art, fashion, design, film and community. It’s about Cadillac finding points of intersection for the brand with our customers’ passions and interests, and being the brand that helps them pursue them.” Taking its “Dare Greatly” messaging to heart, the brand sees Cadillac House as a way to live that. Nathan Tan, the Associate Director of Brand Partnerships and Experiences, adds “…Cadillac House is our commitment to substantively investing in and shaping culture rather than just co-opting it for our own gain. Cadillac House is a statement of intent that brands can and should be producers of culture, not just advertisers.”

Gensler recommended that the front part of the building be recessed, creating a raised veranda and a set back entrance. It’s unusual, and it demands attention from people walking or driving by. Having a vintage Cadillac parked there is a nod to the brand’s long history, but placed in a very modern setting, with glass and mirrors and video screens inferring that what lies inside isn’t about what used to be. Bricker says “Cadillac House is called ‘House’ because it isn’t about a shop or a showroom, it’s a place for people to socialize as one would in a house.” He adds, “Using product sends a message that this is a destination that’s unique. We’ve interrupted the façade of this industrial manufacturing building from turn-of-the-(20th) century and punched it out with modern sensibility with this great street presence."

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