Wallpaper* & Cadillac: Redefining Standards

Redefining Standards is a showcase of young talent who embody the bold, relentless spirit of Cadillac. Through their work, these artists and designers are making their mark, daring to push the boundaries of contemporary design, and, in doing so, drive the world forward

Image of two women and a man stood having a conversation, front facing women holding an item of discussion, white and blue walls, images of car interiors on the left wall
(Image credit: Cadillac)

Syrette Lew knows how to make an impression. When she finally decided to launch her own studio Moving Mountains in 2014, she did so with a bang — debuting her first collection of furniture at ICFF and sweeping up the Editor’s Award for Best Craftsmanship, followed by the Metropolis Design Distinction Award and a host of other accolades. 'That was kind of the real beginning of Moving Mountains,' she says.

Lew doesn’t take any of it for granted, going so far as to say that the name of the studio itself is as much a tribute to her homeland of Hawaii’s northwestward movement, as it is to the feeling of launching a venture of her own. 'Sometimes it literally feels like you’re moving a mountain,' Lew says. On top of that, Lew is committed to working with regional craftsmen and fabricators, resulting in a series of pieces that are playful, yet refined, and have been described as the unlikely pairing of 'Shaker meets Memphis'.

The Hawaii-native's bold, contemporary aesthetic put her on the radar of Cadillac, who recently invited her as one of three studios to create a custom pieces using materials from their exclusive design library — the same high quality samples of laminated woods, carbon fibre, and brushed aluminium that are used in their first ever XT5, a new crossover vehicle for the luxury car company. Always one to push against the unknown, Lew is using this project to reimagine a piece of furniture she’s never designed before: a chaise lounge.

'Like Cadillac, the chaise lounge has a long and interesting history,' says Lew. 'It evolved from the daybed dating back to ancient Egyptian times. In both ancient and classical art, important figures were often depicted in repose on a piece of furniture, signifying power and prestige.'

Cadillac invited Lew to kick off the project with a tour of the GM Tech Center in Warren, Michigan and a behind-the-scenes look at some of the inspiration behind their own designs. 'Visiting the Cadillac Design Center was like stepping into a mid-century Mecca,' says Lew of the building designed by Eero Saarinen.

Named a National Historic Landmark in 2014, the sprawling 600 acre campus is a stone’s throw away from The Cranbrook Academy of Art, a proximity that yielded several collaborations and partnerships during the mid-century with its graduates and faculty, including Saarinen, Florence Knoll, Charles and Ray Eames, and Henry Bertoia.

'Interestingly, the chaise lounge and daybed had a resurgence during this period,' says Lew of the mid-century. 'Some of the era’s most iconic interpretations were designed by Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe, Le Corbusier, the Eameses, and Bertoia. It’s no surprise that all four designers’ work can be seen peppered in the buildings of the GM Tech Center.'

For her own interpretation of the chaise, Lew plans to meld mid-century influences with her own striking aesthetic, using Cadillac materials to bring the final design to life.

Two women sat in a n opened door car, car interior, blue wall background

(Image credit: Cadillac)

Black padded chaise longue, silver metal legs, white background

(Image credit: Cadillac)


Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.