A bank office usually isn’t considered the cosiest place on earth. A grey counter, some weak coffee and lots of noisy marketing messages. ING felt there was a need to move away from that stereotype and has a clear vision of the future: “In the era of digital banking, the emphasis for bank offices is on personal contact and advice more than ever.” Instead of the traditional counter, we put transparency and homeliness at the core of the design. We created a place where conversations are started and relations can be built. A real bank. The bank next door.
With the digital revolution in the banking sector in mind, ING decided the way they accommodate visitors should be changed accordingly. In order to find out how to translate the idea into a new office space, we started a thorough research into the way staff and clients could interact. Our investigation gave us great insight in the possible setup of this new type of bank, functionally as well as aesthetically.
We made drastic changes in both the functional layout and the look and feel of the office. We concluded that a hospitality minded approach would best suit the new type of banking. This approach can be sensed in the way clients are addressed and tended to, but in the overall atmosphere of the interior as well.
On a functional level this approach meant leaving out the omnipresent counter. The clients can wait in a warm coffee bar named ‘black gold’. Self-banking is done on the ‘workbench’, where all digital touchpoints are available and staff is helping and advising people on the how-to’s of digital banking. Personal encounters can be had in open, semi-closed or completely private rooms. The staff’s offices are on the first floor and blend in with the public space. As a result, the bank takes on a more human face.
Banking brands love to throw their corporate colours right in your face. In this project we chose, and were allowed, to use the ING orange as sparsely as possible. It is now subtly integrated in the natural colour palette. The interior colours are warm and the atmosphere is laid-back. Wood and other textural materials were used. We created a public space that feels like a private space. The psychological distance between the bank and its visitors that is omnipresent in most bank offices is reduced to a minimum.
To furnish the space we chose Dutch design objects. ING is known for its art collection and its involvement in the world of art. Therefore, we incorporated an art installation on ‘life as it is’ and placed an interactive art piece named ‘geld moet rollen’, meaning ‘money should roll’, by Dutch artist Jelle Mastenbroek. The piece is a money-back vending machine playing a tune when a coin is inserted and rolls over different glass plates.
We wanted to stay away from the clutter of marketing collateral, which is present everywhere in most bank offices. We chose to communicate in an alternative way, using quotes that inspire, or trigger thoughts. These quotes are placed throughout the office and also on the coffee cups.
Scope of workbranding