When visitors walk into the entrance of the new Tempur-Pedic international headquarters located at the Coldstream Research Campus in Lexington — four floors and 128,000 square feet in size — the first thing they notice is the light. The atrium is a big, light-filled space. A certain energy swirls about, as people move energetically through the open areas and along the stairways to take care of their particular part of Tempur-Pedic business. Maybe it’s the newness of the building, the novelty of a bright shiny new space, but everybody appears busy — and happy.
From the perspective of Michelle Moore, Tempur-Pedic’s marketing manager, the happy vibe springs from the shared mission of bringing arguably the most popular sleep system in the world to people and positively influencing customers’ health and well-being. That, and maybe the fact that their on-site restaurant, Tempur Cafe, just opened — well stocked with local, fresh food prepared daily with health and nutrition in mind. They even have their own Starbucks tucked into the eating area. Employees are also offered fitness rooms and yoga classes. What’s not to love?
“The building itself is a representation of the Tempur-Pedic brand,” explained Tempur-Pedic International’s CEO Mark Sarvary. “It’s a testimony to the brand’s fundamental beliefs of delivering innovation and authentic, premium products to consumers worldwide. The building is designed to encourage people to think differently about their work environment, their interactions with colleagues, their role in the global nature of the business and their stewardship of resources and the environment, as well as their health and wellness.”
As this story was being written, portions of the building were as yet unfinished, with a definite “more to come” anticipation in the air and finishing touches still being added to some spaces.
“We definitely have growth in mind, even as the building is reaching this phase of completion,” said Moore as she pointed out some of the multi-use areas. Gathering spots with tables and chairs dot each wing, designated as places where teams can drop in to confab and get a creative collaboration going.
“This building has been a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate how design connects the built environment with the people who use it in new and innovative ways,” explained Gary Volz of Champlin Architects. “People can choose what type of setting best supports their meetings, so that exchanges of ideas don’t always need to happen over a conference table. From leveraging natural light in every workspace, to supporting wellness and fitness, the design is all about people. We also connected the design with the culture of Tempur-Pedic, so that as soon as a visitor or customer arrives in the building, he or she instantly gets what the company is about — openness, transparency, energy, innovation and extraordinary customer service,” he added. “That’s the difference. That’s the value of design.”
There’s even Tempur-Pedic’s own version of a war room: a long room dominated by a large, tall table, surrounded by chairs that look like slightly pared down astronaut ejection seats — all part of the state-of-the-art equipment in the tricked out meeting space. The walls are computer screens and white boards, and the chairs cater to an energetic business culture and are designed at a height conducive to sitting or standing quickly to move about or illustrate a point or idea.
Sarvary believes in his product and the building that is the company’s new home.
“The layout is certain to foster greater collaboration among individuals and teams and lead to greater productivity. Tempur-Pedic has undeniably changed the industry, but the journey is far from complete, and the new building in many ways symbolizes the next phase of our journey.”
Sustainability was also factored into the building’s design and construction. Many materials are local, recyclable and carefully chosen for durability and green qualities. There are two water features that use less than 15 gallons each and re-circulate the water used. In addition to providing an aesthetic and soothing presence, the water features provide passive humidification in the building. The bathrooms have water-saving features, and energy-saving lighting and heating controls are in place.
Parking spaces have been equipped with plugs for electric cars and bike racks and bikes will be installed this spring. Employees also will be encouraged to use the nearby Legacy Trail for exercise.
Tempur-Pedic has been in Lexington for 20 years but recently chose the city for the location of its international headquarters, beginning operations in November of last year, with many new jobs added and employees relocated to the Bluegrass.
“Tempur-Pedic started here in Lexington with founder Bobby Trussell, so it’s been great to stay home. This is where our company has grown and where it all began,” said Brad Patrick, executive vice president and chief human resources officer.
To answer a common question, no mattresses will be made at this location. All production of the famous Tempur beds and pillows takes place at Tempur-Pedic’s Virginia plant, or at another plant in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Research and product development are based on the Coldstream campus, as well as marketing, accounting, human resources and the very important customer service arm of the company.
Another carefully thought-out consideration in the building’s inception is the art that will fill the space. As the building was designed, lots of space for aesthetic touches were designated and created as focal points of the completed building.
The importance of art in the workplace and the contribution it makes to a company is well documented. It fosters the creative thought necessary in problem solving and design and promotes a sense of well-being among workers. Additionally, it is a signal to established employees and new recruits that this is a place of distinction and cultural richness and a great place to put down career roots. As many corporations have discovered, workplace design is a lynch pin in employee recruitment, retention and productivity.
“We are proud to make our home in Lexington, and we’ve begun our art program with several local Lexington artists and look forward to growing our art program in the coming months and years,” said Patrice Varni, senior vice president, direct-to-consumer.
In this early rollout of the new building, the employees have been treated to the installation of two major pieces that anchor the second level of the building.
Kentucky artist Guy Kemper was chosen to create two large-scale abstract landscapes that were painstakingly installed in mosaic in two prominent locations. Using the centuries-old European style of artist and artisan collaboration, Kemper worked with Herbert Hahn, a master mosaic artist from Munich, Germany, to translate his original paintings and designs into mosaics, applied to the wall using thousands of pieces of hand-cut stone and glass on mesh sheets prepared in Germany and shipped to the United States.
The finished products are two images of the original work rendered in dimension and color on the wall, in a scene not far removed from the natural landscape outside the more-than-20-foot-high window across the atrium from the artwork. The two Kemper murals offer an inspiring welcome to those ascending the stairway.
Titled Day Break and After the Storm, Kemper knew he wanted to bring nature into it when he was commissioned to do the pieces.
“Early on in our discussions, we agreed that nature was a theme we wanted, but I was given free rein,” Kemper said. “They did it the best way: they found me because they liked my work, and then they trusted me to do a good job.”
He studied the space. Liking the lapped wood design being used on the walls and inspired by the Kentucky landscape he knows so well, he set to work creating the murals’ designs.
“I wanted something very organic and natural,” explained Kemper as he described one of the pieces, which was inspired by a summer rain and the soft and steamy look of the land after the sun comes out.
Initially Kemper presented six paintings and the Tempur-Pedic team chose two for the murals. Next was a trip to Munich, where Hahn became a collaborative partner essential to the equation. Kemper had previous experience in working with him and Mayer of Munich, a family-owned mosaic and art-glass artisan group.
“There are only a couple of people in the world who can do this kind of work with mosaic,” said Kemper.
Hahn began with the artist’s design. Kemper and Hahn selected the stones and discussed the art’s location, light source and the tonal qualities of the pieces. Hahn sorted through as many as 60 buckets of stone and glass pieces, selecting just the right colors and shapes to translate Kemper’s designs and colors to the wall.
The artists use ancient, labor-intensive techniques that have been around for thousands of years, laying the stones and sealing and polishing the piece.
“Tons of thought and work goes into the art, and there’s a great feeling of leaving something very lasting behind that can give people joy. Art isn’t just about sheer beauty but also communicating love and joy in this beautiful world,” added Kemper.
Varni sums it up best in saying, “Art is an important part of our new building environment, not only because it lends even more beauty to our work environment, but also because it serves as a daily reminder that the courage to create and innovate makes the world a better place, just as it makes our business more effective and our products ever better.”