Innovation: Design & Technology

Capturing Iconic Elements in the Lighting Design of the 2015 Cadillac Escalade – Martin Davis

Tue, Feb 11 2014

The Cadillac brand exudes classic luxury and we aimed to capture that in the lighting elements of the 2015 Escalade. We drew inspiration from historic Cadillac vehicles, and the Hearst Tower in N.Y.

The defining component of the Escalade lighting is the vertical exterior lamps. Cadillac has a strong heritage with this style of lighting, which helps to create a distinct visual signature that is instantly recognizable.

We also searched for non-automotive inspiration. We found that in the Hearst Tower in N.Y. which features clean design, vertical orientation and an interplay of glass and metal. There is a strong relationship between the glass and metal in the design of the Escalade lighting features, with metal providing an essential fixed element, similarly to how the metal supports the glass for the iconic building.

This vertical design gives the sense that the lighting elements are floating in space because of the edge-lit blade technology. Each of the five rectangular parabolas in the headlamp appear to float within the lamp and are separated by metal accents. Together, they give the lens the look of fine-cut crystal.

For this car, and all Cadillac vehicles, we use LEDs because they enable our design team to create a distinctive appearance both for day and night driving. It is easy to notice a Cadillac Escalade on the road before even recognizing the sheet-metal because of the bright, white lighting.

Another unique design element that may require a few double-takes to notice is the Cadillac Crest etched into the tail lamp light blade. Intricate detailing like the etched Crest is what we like to call a “third read” — people will discover and appreciate it by spending more time with the vehicle.

There is an unambiguous design element to the lighting of the 2015 Escalade and it is undoubtedly Cadillac.

Martin Davis is a design manager in General Motors’ Lighting Studio and a vehicle lighting specialist. Appropriate lighting, he says, completes the look of a vehicle just as accessories complement good fashion.

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