GM Design


Earlier this month, CH visited Los Angeles to check out the 100th anniversary of the Los Angeles International Auto Show courtesy of GM. The world's largest car manufacturer, GM is making major moves to revitalize the brand and invited us out to get a first-hand look at their innovations in design and greener technologies. The Hummer 02 (pictured), their winning entry in the Los Angeles Auto Show's 2006 Design challenge (this was the second year in a row they won), is a standout example of what GM's capable of when given the room to experiment. The vehicle has a positive impact on the environment by using photosynthesizing panels that turn carbon dioxide into oxygen.

At the Interior Design salon, we met with the designers in charge of revamping the part of cars that's often overlooked in favor of exterior flash, but a factor that sets the eventual beaters apart from future classics. At the candid meeting, GM's designers explained the recent corporate edict that granted them the freedom to explore new approaches to interiors and walked us through the changes they're making.

With an approach that considers the general feeling of being in a space and the specifics like ambient lighting, David Rand, the GM Design's Executive Director, compared their ideas about interiors to great architecture and the way it can be both thrilling and comforting. Looking at the ways people use their cars and at the ways other manufacturers have shifted their interior design strategy, their aim is to create a driving experience that's both functional and simplified, while also connecting with drivers on an emotional level.

These goals—what GM calls their holistic thinking—translate into an overall more luxurious feel with a few unconventional choices. Most notably, their designers have taken risks when it comes to color, for example adding orange hues and contrast stitching. Controls become more integrated into the car and in general internal components, like steering wheels, shifters and key fobs (the high-touch interfaces) have a touchability and qualities like thickness and material that reinforce each brand of automobile.