London is home to Halifax’s first-ever flagship branch. Designed by Honest, it features an array of Forbo floor coverings
Words by Emily Martin
Oxford street in London is now home to Halifax’s first ever flagship branch. Designed by retail and brand consultancy firm Honest the branch spans three storeys, with vibrant colours and inviting furnishings creating a welcoming and homely environment. Divided into zones (for travel, kids’ savings, property), the design moves away from a ‘traditional’ bank setting. Requiring ‘hardwearing, comfortable and contemporary floor coverings that would denote spaces without being overwhelming’, as Hardy explains, the design team identified a collection of products from Forbo’s portfolio. and has been awarded top honours in the latest Fly Forbo competition.
‘The Halifax flagship is the first of its kind. We have done a lot of work with the bank over the years to formulate its retail experience, but this project really emphasises the transformation of customer experience,’ says Michelle Hardy, senior creative at Honest. ‘Financial decisions require more time and thought, therefore it is important that customers feel comfortable, relaxed and supported in their surroundings to make these discussions. For this reason, we proposed the concept of the “Halifax home”, where every element of the interior, from the furniture to the floor coverings, needed to create that “home away from home” feel.’
Forbo’s Allura Flex Wood Luxury Vinyl Tiles have been installed in a chevron pattern in the Home Hub
Building on the concept of the ‘home’, the entrance area of the bank is set in the ‘garden’ where customers are greeted with a park bench and a welcome sign tree display. Forbo’s Nuway Tuftiguard design with scraper bars was used as the primary entrance matting due to its durability, strength and structural integrity to handle heavy and intense traffic; ideal for a bank located on Europe’s busiest shopping street. Adjoined to the Nuway is Forbo’s Coral Classic in Warm Black, which acts as a secondary entrance mat to represent the pavement in the garden, while also providing additional dirt and moisture absorption.
The main focal point on the first floor is the Home Hub, a highly interactive digital zone that offers support with the home-buying and -moving process. A combination of Westbond carpet tiles in the Dark Blue and Seaside colourways were installed in a circular shape, parallel to the circular ceiling raft directly above it, to distinguish and draw attraction to the central area. Surrounding this focal point and covering the remainder of the Home Hub is Forbo’s Allura Flex Wood Luxury Vinyl Tiles (LVT) in the Rustic Anthracite Oak shade, which has been installed in a chevron pattern to create a striking contrast to the blue circle.
Forbo’s Allura Flex Wood LVT was also chosen for the viewing rooms, the staff room and the entirety of the basement floor, which features a children’s entertainment zone and a safety deposit facility.
The Westbond Colour collection was used in the private meeting rooms
A selection of carpet tiles were installed throughout, such as the Tessera Diffusion range in Space Quest behind the cashiers, for its organic geometric design and softer properties, which was essential for the staff in these areas.
‘As well as in the Home Hub, we used Forbo’s Westbond Colour collection, which has a beautiful broadloom appearance, throughout the private meeting rooms on the first floor,’ says Hardy. ‘To complement the décor a dark green shade was used in The Study Room, while Dixie Plum, a dark plum tone, was fitted in The Dining Room. Finally, the Navy colourway was laid in the final private meeting room, The Living Room.
A bespoke colourway was also manufactured called Halifax Jute: a vibrant blue shade that reflects the Halifax branding. Used in the ground floor meeting rooms and in the three confidential meeting rooms on the basement floor, the rich linear texture of the Tessera Inline range and the vivacious colour of Halifax Jute complemented the furnishings well to achieve a homely atmosphere.
Forbo’s product portfolio expands beyond floor coverings for this project, with its pinboard linoleum product also specified. Produced from natural and renewable raw materials, Bulletin Board was used to create a playful and decorative display in the travel zone, and also features in the staffroom and kids zone.
Hardy concludes: ‘The Halifax flagship is unlike any traditional bank branch – it is a place to explore, learn, meet and chat. We have been able to create an integrated flooring scheme using an array of Forbo’s products ... They have significantly contributed to our goal of creating a warm, clean and homely aesthetic, as we look to change the customer experience of banking.’