Exclusive interview: design director at GM California Advanced Design Brian Smith

Brian Smith - Cadillac ext design 2012

General Motors’ design director at California Advanced Design, Brian Smith, speaks to Car Design News about his new role, design homogeneity, aero design and more   

With stints at multiple brands within the portfolio, including Chevrolet and Cadillac, Brian Smith is a true General Motors man. Appointed design director of advanced design at GM California, Smith is tasked with forging new frontiers within design across GM, applying his knowledge to brand specific and broader boundary-pushing work. Recently, Smith worked on the Celestiq and Lyriq – a brace of landmark projects for GM that herald a new electrified era. However, you can trace his track record in experimental design all the way back to the GM Precept, which launched at the turn of century. Car Design News caught up with Smith to hear his thoughts on his new role.   

Car Design News: With Cadillac being the boundary-pushing brand in the GM portfolio, how much of a natural step was it for you to move into advanced design?

Brian Smith: Within GM we refer to Cadillac as the tip of the spear. Well, Advanced Design is the tip of the tip of the spear. I was involved with all the EVs that were developed for the first generation of the EV portfolio: from Celestiq through Lyriq and others that will be revealed soon.

CDN: It is early days, but how do you see the role developing?

BS: What is interesting is the breadth of what you get to be involved with. I did some interior work early in my career, but I’ve been an exterior designer most of my career. It’s nice to be able to look at the vehicles holistically from the inside out and not just the exteriors. It’s a great team. Frank (Saucedo) built a pretty good organisation there over 22 years.

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