America Place melds art, architecture at River Ridge Commerce Center

JEFFERSONVILLE — Entrepreneur Jim Karp believes commerce and culture can — and should — co-exist. Working with award-winning architect Kulapat Yantrasast, Karp is in the final weeks of completing his America Place headquarters in River Ridge Commerce Center.

Karp opened the doors to his new America Place headquarters for a sneak peak on Wednesday, prior to completion of the building at 101 Logistics Ave. America Place’s offices are on the first floor of the building. The second and third floors are available for lease.

About 50 invited guests were on hand Wednesday morning to experience the building for the first time and to view Contemporary Art displayed throughout the space. Karp believes art and great architecture have a big influence on business.

Yantrasast was present when America Place opened its doors briefly for the event and tour of his masterpiece. “I love art,” he said, “and we need a relationship with our office spaces that goes beyond just working in them. I think we have achieved this at America Place.”

During the sneak peek, Speed Museum Director Stephen Reily interviewed Yantrasast and Karp so that attendees could hear the story of how the idea for the building emerged and how it meets Karp’s goal of bringing culture and commerce together.

Karp met the Thai-born, Japan-educated architect when Kulapat’s wHY architecture firm designed the $60 million expansion of Louisville’s Speed Art Museum that was completed in 2016. While usually not open to giving interviews, Karp is vocal about his relationship with Yantrasast and the design team. “Developing the land we own in Indiana has been an exciting, interactive process. It has involved architects, designers, community leaders, elected officials and construction teams. The result is Kulapat’s design for our headquarters is a landmark. It will capture the eye and mind of someone passing through.”

Yantrasast is equally enthusiastic. “I welcome collaboration … to make something bespoke, and a reflection of Jim’s business philosophy. Whether a public space, like a museum, or a private space such as an office building, the structure needs to reflect the enthusiasm of the team that brought it to life.”

Yantrasast’s touches are evident in the project’s design. Clean lines, open spaces, large windows, smooth flow all wrapped artistically in structural steel and aluminum skin, producing a shimmering exterior finish. The 40,000-square-foot building evokes the essence of Yantrasast’s welcoming architectural style.

The new offices of America Place sit in front of the Amazon distribution center in the 6,000-acre industrial park. High-end architecture situated next door to a concrete jungle of shipping docks, countless boxes and an endless parade of tractor-trailers? Karp says, “Why not?” In Karp’s view that setting is ideal for the point he wants to make: Commerce and culture should co-exist. Throughout the new building, in conference rooms, hallways and offices, works of art by the likes of KAWS, Kehinde Wiley and Olafur Eliasson are on display.

“The art imbues our space with character, it makes our space dynamic and exciting, and it adds meaning to our building,” Karp said. “Our building, in turn, creates a uniqueness to River Ridge. Our employees will flourish here. Being in this space will be a creative exercise for our brains, encouraging us all to think and pay attention. The result will be a stronger, more productive working team.”

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