(Editor’s note: This is the second of two Q&As on development and design in 2023 Cadillac Lyriq. )
We continue our investigation into the design of the 2023 Cadillac Lyriq with Tristan Murphy, interior design manager for the 2023 Cadillac Lyriq.The talk is the second of two parts, the first being Tuesday with Josh Thurber, Vehicle Exterior Design Manager.
For Cadillac, the Lyriq is a matter of life and death, A historic opportunity to re-establish Cadillac as a “world standard”, It debuts as the brand’s first all-electric vehicle in Cadillac’s 120-year history.
Here’s our conversation with Murphy inside the new Lyriq. Interview has been edited for clarity and length.
TheDetroitBureau.com: Climbing inside, I noticed the bushed aluminum door handle pulls that date back to the Cadillacs of the ’60s.
Tristan Murphy: We’re trying to take some of our very rich history that we like and bring it in a new modern way, not retro. But we used to do a lot of cool things. We really felt it was important to stick to the physical controls because you got into those old Cadillacs that had plungers that could be pulled out and all those things were articulated. These are the things that create memories and emotional connections. When you put everything on the screen, you lose it, you lose the detail, the way things move, the clarity and all that cool stuff.
database: Interestingly, you knurl like the first knob you see when you enter.
TM value: It’s all tied together. It’s on the multifunction controller, on the toggle switch, on the steering wheel. But even if you look down on the speaker’s grille pattern. Too stereo You know a typical speaker is a very flat part with some return flanges. But the gap on this thing is almost the size of a door. We actually had to bring in our outside sheet metal sheet metal people to help teach them how to stamp it properly to achieve this type because it was way beyond anything they had done before. So I think created a piece that looks more special, again giving you the implied movement. It’s not just stuck on the metal grille you know, it feels totally designed.
database: I like the amount of metalwork inside, especially the small copper trim.
TM value: It’s easy to say, panel, ferrous metal, finish. But again, just get the extra detail of the copper finish. So it’s really going down the rabbit hole in the details and thinking of this thing as a piece of jewelry, because again, like old Cadillacs; that’s exactly what they did. They really dig into the weeds of these details, and you just don’t see that in today’s cars.
database: Did you get a chance to do this on a previous show?
TM value: We had to have a lot of conversations about the level of detail we wanted to get early on and knew it was going to take some time. You can argue, is it worth it? You know, I think so, that’s probably why I was placed in this program.
Like all small window monograms.
Two pieces of information, you’d have a company logo, we’ve historically only had the black badge of GM, and then you’d have a font with glass and tech specs, right? So we’re nearing the end of the show and I ask is there any reason we can’t put the Cadillac logo on? Can’t we have any legal reason? I contacted the Glass Guys and they said, “Nobody has asked us this before. So, yeah, of course, let’s get started.” Then I said, “Okay, what about the font? I think I can get the Cadillac font. Like the block fonts we use everywhere?” They were like, “Yeah, let’s do it.”
So, it doesn’t make or break cars, but to me, all these tiny areas are just dedicated to questioning everything. Even these little AKG microphones are here. We put the same pattern you see elsewhere in the car anywhere you see it to make sure you feel like it’s designed. There is continuity throughout the interior.
database: Take a look at the Lyriq’s dashboard layout, it’s reminiscent of the 1967 Cadillac’s dashboard layout, but everything about the Lyriq is new. Nothing comes from another GM, not even another Cadillac. How does it feel to finally be able to do something you had to share indoors?
TM value: If we weren’t allowed to really get that commitment to a whole set of controls, if we couldn’t get to that level, I just don’t think we’d be so aggressive with the ubiquitous patterns. It would have been fine, you have legacy mods here, maybe the neural mods for other parts are different from the previous gen ones, that should be fine, but let’s not cover too much because it’s starting to look like a parts bin. So it’s again Coming back to what really allows us to pursue all these nuanced details. Custom Cadillacs no longer have GM parts. Let’s do it right.
I remember Mark Reuss, when he started us and Celestiq very early, he said, “You know, we owe Cadillac. We should really do that for the brand and the customer. Let’s go all out. “Yeah, it’s just the beginning.
database: I want to think back to when was the last time Cadillac did this.
TM value: This is an interesting point. I don’t know; probably the 1930s.
database: Aside from the climate control buttons, there aren’t any familiar-looking controls here.
TM value: No, not even a button. Although they look similar, they are not. Even the temperature interface. Look at the details, even the little arrows that change. See the small jump at the bottom when the number goes down and then again, another arrow jumps up when the number goes up. That’s a little animation. So even at these levels, we have to know the details.
On screen, we’re really working on how to make this thing beautiful. It’s not just a rectangle; the actual display is fully formed and designed to the shape we’ve done here. It’s not the typical rectangle we’re trying to hide like a (Mercedes-Benz) superscreen. It’s really a pretty cheap implementation. They bought some off-the-shelf monitors, and again, they were expensive monitors, but they just glued it to a piece of glass and that was it. So we feel this is more elegant and luxurious. When you talk about it, what do you pay for luxury brands? For us, it should be. Mercedes-Benz or everyone else does it, that’s what we do for Chevrolet. I mean, it’s not straight forward because they do beautiful things. I mean, I love what Mercedes is doing. But we say very deliberately that we need to go our own way. We cannot come to negotiations with other experiences that are on the road now.
database: Even though the Lyriq has one screen, the graphics have a layered feel, so you know where to look first, then second, then third.
TM value: Absolutely. We’ve seen how to design interfaces, especially capacitive interfaces. How far do you want to push? Where do you want to put it? Because again, it’s a hybrid. You want some of these controls to be solid, and then some others that you don’t use very often, may be capacitive. And you want them to have that little brake where you push with your hand. This is the first (capacitive switch) where you can move your hand and not accidentally activate. You actually have to press it for it to actually activate. So this is a brand new technology. You don’t accidentally activate, which is really critical for us if we’re going to keep using this technology.
database: I see you put the seat controls on the door.
TM value: It actually allows you to get a wider seat because you no longer have to worry about trying to make a space between the door and the seat to get your hands down. So it allows us to really make the seat wider and more comfortable.
database: It’s always the little things that make a true luxury car.
TM value: Yes, exactly. That’s what I remember when they got harsh. One of the last components that wasn’t brand new was originally the coat hook, which we were reviewing, and we were so close, we really did everything. We asked can we pay for a new coat hook? Again, like the last little pimple, you know, like oh come on. We must get a new new coat hook. Like, okay, okay. Now we can say that everything is done.
database: Then this will notify celestial bodyGo a step further.
TM value: Yes, that’s why it’s important to get this out of the box, as it really informs Cadillac’s next chapter. So we start with Lyriq and we’re not going to give up. You’ll continue to see other or future variants, and they’ll all have this set, and on some of them, like the Celestiq, we’ll take it to the next level.