By The One Club on Feb 03, 2017
The team at Gensler is a multidisciplinary design firm making waves in the responsive environment space. Their latest project "Cadillac House," revolutionizes the traditional showroom experience to not only show off the latest Cadillacs, but also incorporates art, design and a coffee shop directly in the space. We spoke with John Bricker, Creative Director, Principle at Gensler to get the details on where the firm is headed and some unique insights into Cadillac House.
Gensler is suddenly everywhere with some very high-profile projects including Cadillac House and Shanghai Tower and a number of corporate headquarters. Is this due to a recent change in strategy or something else?
At Gensler, we are a multidisciplinary design firm. We design everything from a wine bottle label to skyscrapers, and everything in between. Our clients know us through their point of entry, but quickly come to learn we provide services that expand beyond architecture – from design, retail strategy, brand identity, product design and more. Our services have evolved into new spaces and our ability to work together across offices is part of our DNA. We offer the industry’s deepest bench of expertise, matched with experience gained by working with our clients across the global economy. Our success can be accredited to the fact that we are set up to deliver seamlessly around the world. This is not a change in strategy, rather, our people and resources have expanded across the globe.
Responsive environments is becoming more commonplace where people get to interact with their environment. Talk about what makes a good responsive environment.
In today’s retail landscape, we are seeing more than just a transaction. We have to reach consumers through meaningful experiences. Our research finds that a truly engaging shopping experience brings to life the soul of a brand through a heightened engagement of the senses. The strongest responsive environments are those in which every element along the user’s journey has been carefully considered. From point of entry, to virtual reality, to exit, retailers must consider all touchpoints.
What are some of the unique elements at Cadillac House and how does it tie into the brand?
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. Serving as more than just a place to display Cadillac’s newest models, it can also transform to suit various types of events, fashion shows, exhibits and collaborations. Past the runway and the coffee shop are a Retail Lab run with the CFDA and a gallery curated by Visionaire World. The Retail Lab gives fashion designers a chance to open their own store. In Cadillac’s gallery, creativity will be on display. The space is utilized for a multitude of events ranging from rotating exhibitions from local artists, designers and filmmakers, to intimate dinners, product launches and movie screenings. A partnership with Visionaire World brought an acclaimed artist's work to New York for the first time. New artists and installations cycle in and out on a quarterly basis.
Upon walking into Cadillac House, consumers enter the "Runway," a space designed to showcase the latest Cadillac models with integrated technology displays. The presence of a vintage Cadillac on the patio is a nod to the brand’s long history, but placed in a very modern setting. Video screens imbedded on the columns inferring what lies inside isn’t about what used to be. 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. Opening the door to the space you notice leather wrapped handles, another signature element, much like the leather-wrapping handles of a steering wheel. This bold, sophisticated, optimistic space is textured with precision and ingenuity in craftsmanship—the same manner the company manufactures a Cadillac.
Gensler created not just the architecture and interiors for the project but also curated the content for the digital displays. All is based on a generative system that allows for easy updates through preset templates. There are also meeting rooms and a space that will soon include a VR lab. Cadillac House proves to be an integrated experience, incorporating the right balance of detail to connect with customers at every turn.