General Motors is opening a dedicated design facility called the Cadillac House at Vanderbilt at its Global Technical Center in Warren, Michigan where buyers of the bespoke Cadillac Celestiq electric vehicle will be able to customize their car to their liking. They’ll be taken care of by their own concierge and be able to meet with an actual Cadillac designer for help with design choices.
For those who need a refresher, the Celestiq is an extraordinary EV coming to market from Cadillac that will be priced from $300,000 – far more than any vehicle Cadillac has ever sold. The Celestiq’s competition will be cars – EV and otherwise – from brands like Rolls-Royce and Bentley. Like those premium brands, Cadillac will be picky with who it allows to buy the Celestiq. Joe Singer, a Cadillac spokesman, has said, “Anyone can pre-order, but not everyone will get the vehicle.” Rocker Lenny Kravitz has already been confirmed to be on the short list. Only 500 per year will be built, and each Celestiq will be custom to its owner… hence this new design facility.
Cadillac says it has already sold out 18 months of Celestiq production. The car will offer impressive specs, though not world-beating in the EV space. Its large 111-kWh will give the Celestiq a 300-mile range – far fewer than some other luxury EVs like the Lucid Air. But not everything’s about the numbers; Cadillac is betting the Celestiq’s combination of head-turning style, highly advanced tech, and overwhelming customization will sway well-to-do buyers to its cause.
The Cadillac House at Vanderbilt is named after car designer Suzanne Vanderbilt. She worked at GM Design beginning in 1955. It was a time when not many women were designing cars, and she spent a part of her career working in the Cadillac studio before retiring in 1977.
The building being named after her was formerly a restaurant called the Central Restaurant that overlooked the Global Tech Center campus. The single-story structure with 30,000 square-feet of space was designed by architect Eero Saarinen in the modernist style. Its most striking feature is a wide glass wall at the front that offers expansive views of the campus. Behind that glass is a large-scale, sculptural screen of gold designed by Harry Bertoia, an Italian artist based in Detroit. Measuring 36 feet long and 10 feet tall, it glimmers as much as Cadillac hopes the Celestiq will when it reaches reality.
Wreath and crest stans may recall this isn’t the brand’s first Cadillac House. Back in 2016, it opened Cadillac House – New York on the ground floor of its new world headquarters. Described as a “multipurpose brand experience center… for consumers across art, fashion, and culinary,” Cadillac House – New York didn’t last long. The brand decided to return to Detroit and leave the Big Apple in late 2018. The Cadillac House – New York closed the following April.