Islandsbanki North Tower branch

allen international undertook a complete re-think of their present operational model and customer experience to create Islandsbanki’s next generation of branches.

How were you commissioned?:   
Continuing a long and successful partnership with Islandsbanki that commenced back in 2007, allen international undertook a continued re-think of their present operational model and customer experience to create Islandsbanki’s head office branch in Reykjavik. The branch is situated in Iceland’s tallest building which is adjacent to a large retail mall complex. The branch sits below the relocated head office.

What was the brief from the client and how much were they involved?:    
The branch merges 3 branches into one, Þarabakki, Digranesvegur, and Garðatorg. The new merged branch is a strong financial centre offering comprehensive financial consultancy services to the Bank's customers. All of the branch's design and functionality takes account of flexible structure, new technology, effective consultancy, and a positive customer service experience.

How did the brief affect the materials and design choices?:    
The rationalisation of three branches into the new ‘north tower’ offered the opportunity to introduce a fresh retail concept centrally located in the capital area, close to retail shopping centres and residential and commercial communities.

How did your previous experience help you with this project?:    
As this is an existing client our previous work with Islandsbanki helped in our favour

Can you explain the layout of the project:    
The design is expanded upon 3 distinctive, inter-linked zones: The ‘Quick Serve zone’ at the front of the branch integrates facilities for self-service and a quick-service or enquiry desks staffed by universal bankers, providing a fast and efficient operational space to serve the customers everyday banking needs by assisting them in the use, and promoting adoption of the self-service channels whilst promoting financial products. The ‘Community Lounge’ is located at the heart of the ‘Islandsbanki’s branch in North Tower. A relaxed, purposely homely environment where customers can relax, enjoy complimentary coffee, socialise, and chat to the branch hosts. A key component of this space is the showcase and access to the banks social media channels. The bank has become a major digital communicator and each branch is represented on Facebook. The branch offers a wide range of events for customers and the community, discussing financial services or other business topics. In addition, the public space of the branch provides an important venue and showcase for the banks own equivalent of ‘Ted Talks’, and seminars. The final area, set off the central community lounge, is the ‘Engage & Advise’ zone. Consulting staff share agile meeting spaces, meaning they are each provided a dedicated workspace within the back office, coming forward when meeting customers in one of the shared cabin like meeting booth’s. This greatly improves operational efficiency and optimises retail space allocation, but also fundamentally shifts the focus of the one to one meetings according to the needs of the customer. A meeting room is situated above consultation rooms, which are built into a free standing structure in the centre of the branch, provide a focal point for the space and injects a sense of theatre into the design. The meeting rooms will continue to be a unique brand signature of the designs for future Islandsbanki branches, providing their own aesthetic for the spaces and a talking point for customers whom visit.

What do you feel were the most unusual design elements of the project?:    
The two containers atop each other which have been fashioned into modern private meeting rooms

How do you think this project is pushing design forward? What makes it special?:    
Islandsbanki is an extremely progressive banking client and are always ahead of the curve design wise, this space is more a meeting space, a place in which to catch up with some fresh coffee and take respite from your daily tasks, shopping and even maybe meet up with your bank manager.

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