GM Search for Design Inspiration from High fashion and Home Furnishings
General Motors is serious about improving its once dull car interiors. For inspiration, engineers and designers of the automaker came to town to join the fashion week where they will wine and dine with designers and models and meet up with members of New York City’s fashion press.
General Motors also set up a “Design Salon” in Sony’s recording studios in Hell’s Kitchen where the rapper Jay-Z, together with his impressive entourage dies his recording in the adjacent studio. According to GM designers they will try to incorporate distressed leather, black lacquer, and mood lightning in future GM designs to capture the same sort of young, hip, and affluent Americans that buy Jay-Z’s albums which they consider as future customers.
“We want the experience of getting into our cars to be holistic… It’s all about what you see, touch, and even smell,” stated GM’s components designer, Kate Zak.
Bob Lutz has even criticized the interiors of GM’s cars and trucks when he arrived at the company more than five years ago. He instructed his automotive design department to discard hard plastics, plush velour, and black rubber off GM’s future interior design and asked them to create a whole new concept for car interiors. But of course making sure that in the process the integrity of the vehicle is retained. Aside from new interior design GM vehicles will continue with its long tradition of using quality auto parts like its popular GM air filter recharge kit.
To start the change that the automaker is pushing for, it has begun employing matte finishes over most of the dashboard. Unfortunately dealers are not as excited of the matte concept and ended smearing Armor-All onto the matte surfaces just to give them luster.
GM has also isolated its twelve interior design studios around the world from the rest of the company’s operations to provide the designers with all the freedom and silence that they need. GM officials would like for their designers to work in a freewheeling, unrestrained environment that is far away from the cost-cutting pressures of MBA types that usually roam the company’s headquarters.
GM has also hired designers from various fields such as those experts in cellular telephone technology, fabric specialists, and even tattoo artist. GM is hoping that the addition of such designers will helped them to create that ultimate design that will topple all other car interior design in the industry.
“Up until recently, the fabrics used in cars were types of fabrics that wouldn’t be found anywhere else. Now we’re looking toward what people look for in their home furnishings and extending that feel into their cars,” said Executive Director of Interiors for General Motors, Dave Rand.
The quilted patterns which are popular on jackets are now an extravagant sight on seating surfaces in Cadillacs. Plus, GM is also confident that younger buyers won’t mind having distressed leather seats and arm rests if it means getting the same comfort that they get from their living rooms at home.
In addition, meticulous buyers especially in the pickup truck segment are also looking for exposed stitching, dual patterns, and new textures which in the past were not given much attention in terms of interior design. The paint of schemes for the SUV is also heading matte finishes giving the vehicles with a futuristic, aluminum looks.
About the Author: Noah Scott is a 30 year old native of New Jersey, writer, and car fan - having grown up with both parents being auto enthusiasts. He works for an automotive consultancy firm and regularly contributes articles to car magazines.