Jan 3, 2017

Turning Tennessee Titans HQ into a message-rich environment

When the Tennessee Titans revamped their team headquarters at Saint Thomas Sports Park, team executives and Advent collaborated to create a facility that accentuated the present and future rather than dwelling on the past.

One strategy to accomplish this was to highlight team tenets and mantras to provide an inspiring atmosphere that would reinforce the franchise’s and coaching staff’s core values. Advent’s Dustin Waltke led the design on the project. Here, he explains how Advent distilled the Titans’ messaging and dispersed it through the facility.

“When we began designing Saint Thomas Sports Park, we received an extensive list of mantras from coach Mike Mularkey. He was all about toughness. He liked a phrase ‘Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead.’ We thought it was a really aggressive statement, even for football. We thought it should become the last mantra players see before they go to the practice field. Later, after the installation of these designs, I heard the phrase mentioned on local sports talk radio in reference to Titans’ football. I knew then that it was really starting to stick in the minds of both the media and players.”

“One of our initial designs for the entry hallway to the locker room highlighted the Music City Miracle, a play that was part of a season that ended in an extremely close loss in Super Bowl XXXIV. The current staff didn’t resonate with this as a focal display because they feared it might tell players that second place is good enough. As a designer, I value that kind of feedback from our clients; it helps lead us to the best design. We decided to minimize the Music City Miracle display and highlight instead the Lombardi Trophy with the slogan ‘One Team, One Goal.’

“The staff was clear in their vision that winning the Super Bowl is the ultimate goal for the Tennessee Titans. A unique design decision to angle the display in the corner means that players always have this view of the championship trophy whether they’re entering or exiting the building. It is both the first and final reminder as to what every day of practice is working towards.”

“In the locker room, we were working within an already existing project outside Advent’s scope that included locker updates and a ceiling logo. Although we didn’t have the opportunity change certain parts of the locker room, we had the soffits and nameplates to explore design opportunities.

“The coaching staff wanted the locker room to instill additional messages to the players. Many of the mantras were long phrases. We believed, however, that single words mixed with iconic shots of players would create a more memorable impact and serve as the tenets of Tennessee Titans football. We collaborated with Coach Mularkey to hone in and pare down what those words should be. The end result is a collection of powerful one word statements and images that boldly tell the tale of what it is to be a Titan.”

“In the hallway to the weight room, we wanted to inspire players to focus on their intense training regime. We carefully chose powerful photographs to illustrate toughness. On one side of the hall we reinforced hard work through the mantras and messages, and on the opposite side, the displays show the results of training with images of incredible game action moments. Finally, we installed factory beams in the ceiling to reinforce that players should enter the weight room with a blue-collar mentality.”

“The scope of the work at Saint Thomas Sports Park featured many long hallways. As a designer, these spaces present a unique opportunity to balance innovative design without overwhelming its audience. One solution for these hallways was to create a living team schedule. The display is a visual reminder as to how well the team is doing. Every game starts in navy blue. If they win a game, the display switches to Titan blue. If they lose a game, it switches to gray. We felt that a prominent reminder of the year’s success and failure could be a motivator for future success.

“Further down the same hallway, we wanted to tell a second story about the team’s schedule. Winning divisional games is always important. We developed the slogan, ‘Storm the South’ and a display that highlights big hits against divisional opponents to reinforce the priority that you have to win the season within the season.”

Advent also worked with the Dallas Cowboys on their multi-use facility. Messaging and mantras also played a key role in installations with North Carolina men’s basketball and Penn State football.