Cadillac House in Shanghai, China, is the Retail Design Institute’s 2019 Store of the Year. Claudia Cerchiara, the Institute’s International Chairman and Chair of its Awards Committee, made the official announcement July 2, 2020. “We congratulate the Cadillac House team on their impressive win that combined elements of a classic car showroom with the interactivity of an educational exhibit.” The space combines education with aspiration and brand elements “that communicate the space as clearly Cadillac,” Cerchiara explained. In addition to its distinction of Store of the Year, judges also bestowed three Innovation Awards on Cadillac House -- one each for Architecture, Customer Experience and Digital Integration.
Cadillac worked with Gensler design teams in New York, Chicago, Detroit and Shanghai on the 46,000-sq.-ft., three-level space to create an immersive visitor experience that personifies the brand. The team’s goal was to attract China’s emerging creative class. To expand Cadillac’s well-established values rooted in American tradition, the design team strategically carried out the project program through the lens of a Chinese audience discovering the brand. The project expresses the “world within Cadillac,” an inward perspective that explores the brand’s past, present and future; and “Cadillac in the world,” an outward perspective that focuses on its global image.
On the ground floor, guests can visit a café and lounge, company store, and 360-degree theater, which features short films about Cadillac. A spiral staircase leads to the second level, where an educational experience engages visitors with both tactile and digital design elements, including a 3D badge timeline wall, a music library, digital storytelling totems, a car materials tunnel and a souvenir customization opportunity.
A spiral ramp leads to the third level, where a double-height art gallery hosts a rotating display from local artists. The third floor reveals an exclusive lounge, boardroom and reception area for partnership events, VIPs and client-facing efforts. An interior elevator allows cars to be driven into and moved onto different levels within Cadillac House. From a panoramic spot on the building’s third level, customers can watch as their new cars are driven onto the reflecting pool’s center platform and celebrated with an illuminated water show.
Judges’ comments: “Wow! It's Frank Gehry meets Frank Lloyd Wright. Quite spectacular.” “A wholistic, immersive brand experience. Beautiful materials and interesting array of displays and interactive experiences.” “This is a gorgeous piece of architecture and design, beautiful form and function and branding. Perfection -- Asia.” “This is an absolutely stunning building. The materials are exquisite, the lighting is beautiful and unobtrusive, and the use of digital technology seems to be a highlight. This is a lovey space which I know will appeal to many Chinese consumers.”
The annual competition attracted submissions from 66 retail teams across the globe. Countries represented include: USA, U.K., Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Italy, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and South Korea.
The Ohio Chapter hosted this year’s judging. Jurors included: Laura Smith, RDI, Architectural Design Manager, Bath & Body Works and LaSenza, L Brands; Nina Ricciardi, Senior Director, Store Design, Macy's; Vikas Srivastava, Assistant Vice President, Store Design Lead, Fifth Third Bank; Heesun Kim, Vice President, Creative Managing Director, FRCH NELSON; Steve Calhoun, RDI, most recently Creative Director, Environments, WD Partners; Eric Daniel, Creative Director, FITCH; and Ann Black, CID, Associate Dean Academic and Faculty Affairs, University of Cincinnati.
In addition to Cadillac House, Shanghai, the judges honored another 22 projects opened in 2019 and more than two dozen Innovation Awards ranging from planning and circulation to lighting design and decorative material usage.
Cadillac House, Shanghai, joins the following winning projects that make up the Institute’s “Class of 2019” -- projects represent the “best of the best” stores opened in 2019. (The Institute’s annual "class" represents the best of the best regardless of store format or retail merchandise/service classification.)
Alaska Lounge, Seattle, Design: Graham Baba Architects, Seattle; Innovation Award for Customer Experience and Innovation Award for Materiality.
ALDI, Shanghai, Design: Landini Associates, Sydney.
Birkenstock, Venice, Calif., Design: TPG Architecture, New York City.
Fido, Montreal, Design: CallisonRTKL, New York City.
Forty Five Ten, New York City, Design: 5G Studio Collaborative, Dallas; Innovation Award for Fixturing, Innovation Award for Artistic Expression.
Innisfree, Seoul, Design: Mapos Architects, D.P.C., New York City.
Longo's, Toronto, Design: Ampersand Studio Inc., Toronto; Innovation Award for Environmental Graphic Design.
McDonald's, New York City; Design: Landini Associates, Sydney; Innovation Award for Branding; Innovation Award for Digital Integration.
Maitri, Pittsburgh; Design: High Road Design Studio, Tempe, Ariz.
Molton Brown, Dartford, U.K.; Design: Dalziel & Pow; Innovation Award for Fixturing; Innovation Award for Customer Experience; Innovation Award for Visual Merchandising.
Nestlé KitKat Chocolatory, Sao Paulo; Design: FITCH, London; Innovation Award for Digital Integration.
Nordstrom, New York City; Design: Nordstrom Store Design, Seattle, in collaboration with James Carpenter & CallisonRTKL; Innovation Award for Concept | Programming and Innovation Award for Storefront Façade.
Psycho Bunny, Miami; Design: Ædifica, Montreal; Innovation Award for Visual Merchandising.
SSG Food Market, Seoul; Design: Landini Associates, Sydney; Innovation Award for Store Planning and Innovation Award for Environmental Graphic Design.
Saks Fifth Avenue, New York City (Levels 1, 2 and Cellar); Design: Gensler and Saks Store Planning & Design, New York City; Innovation Award for Digital Integration.
Saks Fifth Avenue, New York City (Women's Shoe Salon); Design: Highland Associates and Saks Store Planning & Design, New York City.
Sarah & Sebastian, Sydney; Design: Landini Associates, Sydney; Innovation Award for Lighting Design.
Specs, Del Mar, Calif.; Design: RHDC Studio, San Diego.
Timberland, London, Design: Dalziel & Pow, London.
Time Out Market Chicago, Chicago; Design: Chipman Design Architecture, Des Plaines, Ill.; Innovation Award for Adaptive Reuse.
Whole Foods Market, Seattle; Design: D L English Design Inc., Pasadena, Calif.; Innovation Award for Localization.
XYZ Storage, Toronto; Design: Ampersand Studio Inc., Toronto; Innovation Award for Customer Experience.
Cadillac House 2199 Jufeng Road, Shanghai, China Category: Showroom Completion: March 27, 2019 Design: Gensler, New York City
Photography: Ai Qing (interiors); Wang Dong (exteriors) Client: General Motors Company, Detroit Architect: Gensler, New York City Consultants, contractors and trades: Kangye, China (general contractor); Shanghai Xiandai Architecture, Engineering & Consulting (project management); Tongji Architectural Design (Group) Co., Ltd., Shanghai (architect of record; structural and MEP engineers); Meinhardt Façade Technology (Shanghai) Ltd. (curtain wall engineers); George P. Johnson Experience Marketing (experience design; interior lighting consultant); Atkins Group, Shanghai (LEED consultant); Proteus Lighting, Shanghai (exterior lighting consultant); Shanghai Kangye Construction & Engineering Co., Ltd., Shanghai (interior contractor); Wah Heng Glass & Aluminum Products Shanghai Ltd., Shanghai (curtain wall contractor); Shanghai Encore Ltd., Shanghai (experience design contractor); The Pixel Lab, Duluth, Minn. (digital experience contractor); JAB Anstoetz Furniture, Bielefeld, Germany (furniture); Vola, Horsens, Denmark, (plumbing fixtures); Blu Bathworks, Burnaby, BC Canada (plumbing fixtures); Kohler, Kohler, Wis. (plumbing fixtures); Corian, Wilmington, Del. (solid surfacing)