When hundreds of thousands of 2007 North American International Auto Show visitors step inside the 121,000-square-foot General Motors exhibit beginning Jan. 13, they’ll experience more than beautifully designed and executed cars and trucks. The all-new GM exhibit – the show’s largest – will be transformed into the auto show equivalent of an art gallery.

A more intuitive layout supported by enhanced, high-tech overhead and vehicle lighting; open spaces and clean lines; minimalist architecture and premium materials will allow visitors to experience GM’s eight distinctive brands in unique, gallery-type settings within a unified, GM-themed environment. The individual brand displays surround GM’s advanced technology-themed corporate display.

Working hand-in-hand with GM’s VSSM organization, GM Design played a key role in the vision and execution of this year’s exhibit, taking an esthetic approach remarkably similar to its globally influenced vehicle design process.

“While the stars of the show are the vehicles, we wanted the exhibit space to reflect the corporation’s design-driven direction in a way that complements the brand essence of each vehicle and the overall GM brand,” said Ed Welburn, GM vice president, Global Design. “The finest work deserves to be displayed in the best galleries, and I believe we’ve accomplished that with this exhibit.”

Visitors will know they’ve arrived at a special destination the moment they approach the exhibit, with its dramatic center entrance featuring a stainless steel ribbon 261 feet wide and 26 feet high, sporting a jeweled GM corporate logo. Five award-winning global concept vehicles will be positioned at the entrance to reinforce the strength of GM vehicle design and future products.

Throughout the exhibit, 615 linear feet of LED lighting will be suspended above visitors’ heads, complemented by additional lighting in the brand displays that bathes the vehicles in light. Each of the brand areas will have back wall video projection for product messages, as well as synchronized corporate messages.

Here’s a tour of GM’s 2007 North American International Auto Show exhibit:

Chevrolet: GM’s largest brand builds on a global auto show concept called “Chevy Moments.” The display consists of a series of graphic towers, feature vehicle displays and LED screens, along with unique flooring that defines specific vehicle areas. Chevrolet is unveiling the new 2008 Malibu at the Detroit show.

Cadillac: The display for GM’s luxury marque is inspired by the sharp lines and faceted architecture of its vehicles. It features an angular ceiling canopy, premium materials such as frosted glass and stainless steel surfaces, and high-tech lighting that befits Cadillac’s technology legacy. Cadillac is revealing the new 2008 CTS at the Detroit show.

GMC: Professional Grade goes decidedly upscale with an all-new space that features textured blue steel, precast concrete, and chrome, perforated metal that evokes the grille design of GMC’s premier Denali lineup. Mechanical elements abound, executed with style and precision.

HUMMER: Capability is the name of the game, and GM’s go-anywhere, do-anything vehicles are displayed against a deep orange backdrop complemented by architectural cues such as massive ID plinths, concrete and glass floor panels.

Saab: Very clean and open with crisp, white surfaces and glass flooring, the Saab display features unique LED technology as well as LED screens that create a special product environment.

Saturn: As refreshing as its brand-new product lineup, the Saturn display breaks convention with unique architectural elements and distinctive materials. The “Aura Box” features bright Obscura projection technology focusing on the 2007 Aura Green Line hybrid.

Buick: The Buick environment exudes the premium elegance associated with its new design direction. It features sophisticated materials such as wood, polished stone tile and gossamer lighted fabric back walls that underscore the display’s water theme, and illuminated ceiling coves. A Buick Lucerne will showcase OnStar’s Turn-by-Turn Navigation technology on a windshield-projected narrative.

Pontiac: Pontiac’s all-new display evokes the energy and atmosphere of a hip club. Polished stainless steel surfaces, gloss black paint and glass convey the brand’s seductive performance theme. The space comes alive with carefully choreographed sound, light and the use of video presentations that create excitement.

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