It’s the Cadillac of Cadillac showrooms. But Gensler’s Cadillac House, open on June 2 at 330 Hudson Street in New York, is much more than that. Partnering with the 114-year-old automaker and the Council of Fashion Designers of America, the firm’s creative director and principal John Bricker helped anchor a concept that gives designers the opportunity to gain real-world business experience through a store and mentorship program. “Cadillac House goes far beyond the typical dealership experience where you simply kick tires, get of whiff of the new car smell, and put your hands on a steering wheel,” he says.
Gensler has been working hand-in-hand with Cadillac for over two years to develop the 12,000-square-foot space, on the ground floor of the company’s global headquarters, which includes a public café and lounge, a car runway, and event and gallery spaces, the latter of which will be curated by art and fashion publisher Visionaire. “Perhaps the most interesting thing about the space? You can't buy a car there,” Bricker adds.
Cadillac and the CFDA’s Retail Lab will select six designers annually to open a pop-up for three months on the site while under the mentorship program, which includes business development, marketing, and PR. In addition to covering costs associated with a retail space, including the display units, mannequins, and signage, Cadillac will provide each designer with a $75,000 grant to put towards wholesale buys, sales support, and marketing. The CFDA and Cadillac have also assembled an advisory board including Billy Reid, Derek Lam, Reed Krakoff, and Simon Doonan, to develop the program curriculum and advise the designers. First up is Timo Weiland, whose shop will open to the public in early July. And next up for the all-American team of Cadillac and Gensler? Cadillac Shanghai.