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Banco BPI All In One

An innovative and unique project in the panorama of Portuguese retail banking

The project for Banco BPI, the commercial banking arm of Portugal’s third largest financial group, sought to condense six different departments including front of office service functions as well as back office, at its new flagship Lisbon headquarters in the iconic Monumental Saldanha building.

The approach saw the creation of spaces and installations that support the highest levels of customer care and exceptional service while allowing the spaces to assert themselves to create a user experience that is surprising, captivating and unforgettable.

The desire to create a spatial experience evolved from a clear desire from the client that the result should breach expected boundaries to the point of being almost surreal, which meant introducing different elements through the process that were not just physical but also challenged the senses of the customer.

The journey begins in a spacious and fluid space with two key arrival points, one from the main plaza at the front of the building and the second from a grand avenue that runs along the side of the building.

The entrance from the plaza leads directly into the main public welcome area of the new space while the entrance to the side offers a spectacular double-height atrium with digital walls where fluid patterns continually change colour and appearance. This area can be secured at one end when the bank is closed, providing 24-hour access to ATMs.

The welcome area itself is informal with a series of lounge zones and a variety of digital and analogue elements with BPI messages and communications. Within this space is also a void that offers a glimpse to the lower floor, enticing customers to discover more.

The ground floor is connected to a lower and upper floor through a mezzanine and at the edge of the welcome area is a sculpted staircase that connects the lower and ground floor. Sitting behind this is a digital wall that promotes the interconnection of the two floors and encourages the continuation of the journey from one floor to another.

The staircase arrives within another lounge area on the lower floor, off which sit a range of different meeting rooms and spaces, with the journey culminating in the Agora, a flexible circular space with a 360 projection for an immersive experience that can be divided into two areas that can host conferences, exhibitions and town hall events.

Central to the design approach is the idea of fluidity between spaces and gradations between the public and private spaces, a concept reinforced by the organic shapes and patterns and materiality of the floors, ceilings and dividers throughout the space.

A warm palette with vibrant notes, including a lavish use of the orange that dominates BPI’s visual brand, is used to highlight the different areas with appropriate materials used to reflect the levels of use of each area, introducing durability and easy maintenance for high traffic areas.

The furniture throughout is contemporary and appealing, designed to ensure adequate resilience and appropriate ergonomics depending on the frequency of their use.

The overall effect of the design is to create a space that has the functionality to deliver BPI’s business objectives while challenging the customer’s preconceptions about what a bank can or should be.

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