General Motors Design Dome
Through mindful and meticulous updates, SmithGroup was able to keep General Motors' Design Dome in the future.
General Motors Corporation
Historic Preservation, Corporate Interiors, Interiors, Lighting Design, Workplace, Architecture, Corporate Headquarters & Campuses
American Institute of Architects (AIA) - Honor Award – Interior Architecture, 2017
Illumination Award of Merit -- Illuminating Engineering Society (IES), 2016, 2011
Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design Awards -- American Architecture Award, 2018
Illumination Award of Merit -- Illuminating Engineering Society (IES), 2017
In 1956, General Motors’ Design Dome revolutionized the automobile industry and became an essential part of Eero Saarinen’s mid-century modern campus--now a National Historic Landmark District.
The creation of the Design Dome marked the first time that cars were presented as art — in a theater of sorts, with lights cascading down on the freshly finished paint so automobile designers could scrutinize the designs of the newly manufactured vehicles. Termed the “Versailles of Industry,” the dome was considered a masterpiece, boasting shadowless lighting design in a bold modern aesthetic.
Our team worked on the 2015 renovation that required meticulous updates to the lighting and mechanical systems without compromising the original design. The dome, after all, had become an architectural marvel, an elegant example of modernist design that defined innovation not only in the architecture community, but in the auto industry.