The Art and Science of a Cadillac Interior
A look inside the 2014 Cadillac ELR reveals how the company's "art and science" design philosophy succeeds.
Since the early aughts, Cadillac's highly successful art and science design philosophy, which emphasizes sharp lines and advanced technology, has defined modern Cadillacs inside and out. In his eight years as Cadillac's interior design director, Eric Clough has worked to seamlessly integrate this ethos into cabins across the American carmaker's portfolio, from the Escalade to the ATS. With the 2014 ELR Cadillac's first plug-in hybrid Clough's mission was twofold: to define the luxury niche in the EV market and further raise the bar for future Caddy interiors. Here, he explains the challenges and highlights of the ELR's accommodations.
This was tough. For example, this is a very tall, very deep instrument panel because of the car's architectureŚwe have to thread HVAC ducts buried deep in the panel around the electronics. Also, slanting the dash in a beautiful way to reach the low front-quarter glass was very difficult.
B. Decorative Trim
The olive ash burl and carbon fiber in the show car reflect the technical and luxury aspects of the ELR. I'm particularly proud that the woods we use are not easily faked. In most cars we use sapele, a species of mahogany, and it has this beautiful wave in it that you can't simulate.
C. Full-Length Center Console
The trickiest challenge in designing the ELR's interior was finding a way to work around the electric batteryŚit runs the full length of the car. Because of this we extended the console through the rear cabin. It's at a nice height ergonomically and sets up a certain cockpit feeling.
D. Cut-and-Sew Finishes
Our leather wrapping is superior to what the competition does with bicast leather, which is made by injecting foam underneath the surface to give it shape and make it soft. Cut-and-sew wrapping is more expensive, but it's lighter, feels more luxurious, and has more of an authentic look to it.
E. Symmetry vs Asymmetry
The interior feels more dynamic by coupling symmetrical elements such as the infotainment screen with asymmetrical elements such as the top pad that reaches all the way over and says, "Here is the driver." I try to avoid things being only slightly asymmetrical, because then it just looks warped.