Last Friday Cadillac stopped by Los Angeles for its “Driven by Design” tour featuring the 2015 Escalade, which was done in conjunction with Architectural Digest. The tour consists of meeting at a location of architectural significance, then visiting several notable architectural landmarks whose beauty reflects the passion and creativity of its designers − just like Cadillac’s.
The tour began in Chicago in July, then was followed by stops in New York, Dallas, Miami, and now The City of Angels.
Cadillac reached out to architects, current Cadillac customers, and Brand X customers whose leases are about to expire, and we all met at Hotel Bel-Air. This exclusive getaway, nestled in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains, was the place where Cadillac treated us to breakfast and a talk with Zoltan Pali of SPF:architects, whose firm was responsible for converting the old Beverly Hills post office into the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.
A parade of black 2015 Cadillac Escalade SUVs then took us to the first of the landmarks: the Sheats Goldstein Residence, which looks over the Hollywood Hills to give a spectacular view of Los Angeles. Built in 1963 by former Frank Lloyd Wright mentor John Lautner, it was then bought in 1972 by fashion icon James Goldstein. The residence most perfectly embodies “the extension of the environment and of the individual.”
It was after this visit that I had an opportunity to drive the Escalade to the North Faring Residence, the second leg of the trip. The 2015 Escalade was an ESV Premium that was surprisingly maneuverable in Bel-Air’s tight, windy roads. Speed bumps hardly disturbed the passengers thanks to Magnetic Ride Control. Rear-seat accommodations were equally as comfortable, with third-row seating fit for six-footers.
Arriving at North Faring, a 15,000-square-foot, $34 million home completed earlier this year, it has yet to find its first owner but found us with mouths agape. If the Sheats Goldstein Residence was mid-century modern, North Faring was the late-model Cadillac of mansions – a building utterly elegant in proportions but sophisticated in form. We imagine that the details, from the one-piece marble in the staircase to the burgundy deck in the patio, are something that the automaker would like to have consumers think of when they think Cadillac.
The final stop was at the Wallis. Gorgeous circa 1933 Art Deco in the entrance gave way to a 2013 theater addition out back, deftly connecting contemporary design from the past with the present. Together, both structures embrace Beverly Hills’ history and future.
Afterwards, the caravan of Caddillacs made it back to Hotel Bel-Air, upon which we were given a care package that consisted of a brochure, a California promotion for would-be customers, an issue of Architectural Digest, a hardcover retrospective of Cadillac’s part of popular culture, and other items. The collaboration between Cadillac and Architectural Digest reflects the automaker’s integration among design, engineering, and manufacturing – beauty with substance.