Appealing clarity

There is an increasing need for clarity to keep up with the growth of the Kinnarps group. At Materia’s new facility in Tranås, the corporate brand is communicated down to the smallest detail -from the foyer to the staff uniforms.

It can be seen as symbolic that Materia’s new, 7,500 square-metre building is situated at the highest point of Tranås, known as Höganloft. Both the real and creative ceilings of the company are extra high after the move, just like the energy and enthusiasm of the sixty or so employees.

“We at Materia work with quality furniture that represents a specifically high level of expression and function. If our employees are surrounded by the same high quality in their daily work, both their morale and their understanding of what the company stands for increase. In moving to the new premises, everyone experienced an enormous collective lift,” explains CEO Lars Bülow with

The ultra-modern facility accommodates not only production, administration and showrooms but is also permeated by Bülow’s corporate philosophy and ideas about design management. It should be evident that everyone is treated with the same respect here, that everyone is equally important. Hence the staff entrance is located directly next to the visitors’ entrance; both are of equal size and prominence. Everyone in the company, irrespective of their job, gets together at coffee breaks in the roomy canteen whose glass walls give a full view over both textile and leather processing areas and offices. Openness and transparency are key concepts in both furnishing and communication. Everyone receives the same information, including a much appreciated weekly letter written by the boss himself. The employees’ names are carefully printed directly on the surface of the cabinets that separate their workplaces, which says it all about attention to detail. Anthracite grey and white dominate. The shine of the showroom’s white epoxy floor is reflected in the displayed products. Kersti Sandin, who founded Materia in 1992 together with Lars Bülow, has ingeniously arranged the colours on the office chair fabrics to follow the sequence of hues in a coloured circle. The two are in fact responsible for the entire design of the building, with the help of architect Lars-Göran Otterling from Aria Consulting in Örebro.

“I see it as a tribute to Materia that we gained the confidence of our owner Kinnarps so that we could realise our long-standing dream of a brand new facility. I hope it will contribute to boost our
exports significantly. Thanks to Kinnarps it is now much easier for us to reach out to our customers: whereas Materia used to have five or six export destinations, we now have thirty-six, which is a fantastic challenge,” says Lars Bülow and sums up:

“Materia used to be a small player.Today we have much greater resources and scope for further growth thanks to our new facility.And I am perhaps most proud of how well Materia’s democratic work culture is reflected in the building.That is the main thing that we want to preserve, make clear and convey to the outside!

Susanne Helgeson