‘Make our customers feel at home and take sustainability as a starting point’

‘Make our customers feel at home and take sustainability as a starting point’

ABN AMRO Amstelveen

ABN AMRO asked its partners the following question: ‘Advise us on the interior design, style and appearance of bank office 3.0’. Make the branches where our customers come for advice more accessible, homely and, above all, more sustainable. The ABN AMRO branch in Amstelveen was used as a pilot office, where Koppes Bouwkunde took care of the new architecture, layout and styling of the building. Gispen and Zwartwoud joined in and supplied the most suitable and most circular furniture - including tailored solutions. ISSOS supplied the fixed, tailored furniture and completed the construction of the office.

The epitome of circularity

Circularity is one of ABN AMRO’s key guiding principles. It has also become the foundation of the Yello-concept, a new and adaptable activity-based working concept that has been introduced across all ABN AMRO offices in the Netherlands. The bank branches also needed a new and more sustainable interior design and image. Client Bart Bos: 'The concept of bank branch 2.0 has been around for 17 years and the market has changed in the meantime. Instead of a business environment, we wanted to offer our customers a more welcoming and homely surrounding. In Amstelveen we moved to a new location, a former conference building. The renovation of this building gave us the opportunity to make the interior as circular as possible - from the floors, walls and ceilings to the furniture.'

The client’s thoughts

‘For the new furnishing concept of the pilot office in Amstelveen, we asked two separate suppliers, Gispen and Zwartwoud, to come up with a joint proposal. This was a first for us! In the end, it turned out even better than expected. They complemented each other perfectly and the end result is the perfect example of circularity and sustainability, as requested. Not just to show off, but with a story behind all the integrated products. Everything was completed on time, even though we faced a delay in construction and had a set delivery date. I am a proud project manager.’

Bart Bos Project Manager Facility Management ABN AMRO

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Transitioning from bank office 2.0 to 3.0

Koppes Bouwkunde, who had also been involved in the bank office 2.0 concept, was given the order to develop a 3.0 version. This started with a virtual office in Zeist (in early 2017), which was then translated into the first physical new retail office in Amstelveen. From the floors, ceilings and woodwork to the distinctive winding wooden counters and lighting equipment; Rob Bos, architect at Koppes Bouwkunde, designed it up to the final detail. Issos translated his ideas into a custom interior design, encompassing all the fixed furnishing elements: from the counters to the internet island. Rob: 'You can think of many beautiful things, but when it comes out just how you envisioned it and when it works in practice, that's just great. Sustainability and circularity were key guiding principles and are reflected in the first PVC-free vinyl floor, the walls with wooden strips – constructed out of pallet wood – and the old gym floor which has been given a new lease of life at the workshop greenhouse.'

Inviting, homely and organic

ABN AMRO asked five suppliers to come up with a plan for the separate pieces of furniture; a design which ties in with the envisioned 3.0 concept of the pilot office in Amstelveen. Zwartwoud and Gispen were selected as the lead interior architects. Claartje ten Have from Studio Moj, involved as a permanent partner on behalf of Gispen in this project: ‘We were given a fairly open-ended assignment: Keep informing one another and create solutions that are as sustainable as possible. Our team operated as a well-oiled machine from the very beginning of the project. Zwartwoud contributed by sharing their expertise in custom furniture, while Gispen sorted out the standard furniture. This was very effective! Eric van Balen from Zwartwoud: 'We don't see each other as competitors, but have looked at where we can complement each other.' The end result is an extensive and stylish combination of products and atmospheres, with one common thread: the environment is inviting, homely and organic.

A variety of consultation areas

On the ground floor, customers check in with the Host. They can take a seat in the waiting area, pull up a chair to the reading table or keep their kids busy in the children's corner. Complete families can be accommodated here in a welcoming manner. In addition, there are three moderately-sized consulting rooms and a large seminar room. On the first floor, one can find the consulting and conference rooms, as well as a number of workstations. Claartje: ‘We have deliberately created a variety of consultation areas for the different types of clients who come in for financial advice. Elderly people, for example, might prefer to sit down at a conference table, where younger people would rather receive advice at a standing table or in a sitting area.’ Each consultation area has its own design. There is an Ajax room (many of our customers are supporters) and a Nature Room, which includes a table made of grass and walls that have been lined with recycled wood.

Sustainable custom furniture

Zwartwoud both designed and manufactured the custom furniture pieces, including conference tables, bistro tables and agile workstations. Eric: ‘We searched for the most responsible production methods for all the new furniture. All the custom work has been constructed in such a way that components can be replaced or reused separately. We made tabletops out of old window frames and doors. We made lamps out of sheet material from collected coffee cups. And old ABN AMRO corporate clothing has been reused for the acoustic panels in between desks’. Claartje: ‘We also searched through the Gispen collection and made a selection of only the most sustainable products. Such as Nomi, the modular chair with interchangeable covers, or CIMO, the circular and modular desk programme, and the Sett CE sofa, which is made out of 95% recycled materials. We reupholstered chairs with eco-label fabrics. And supplied handmade wooden tables, which were sourced from the same region our partner Arco operates from, as well as armchairs and stools made of recycled PET material from De Vorm. The colour schemes are very organic; we deliberately opted for solid autumn-themed colours, with many shades of brown and green.”

A word from our partner

‘Working with Gispen was great and fully in line with our philosophy; we are always keen on partnering up with them, especially when it comes to product developments. We supplied a wide range of circular custom solutions for the pilot office in Amstelveen. Together with Gispen, we have laid an excellent foundation from which ABN AMRO can now pick and choose elements for other branches that will transition towards or a more welcoming and inviting banking environment.'

Eric van Balen Design Manager at Zwartwoud

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Are you happy with the result?

Client Bart Bos: ‘We presented this question to both our customers and our employees. We piloted all the different seating options (high, medium, low), as well as different atmospheres. The banking advisors told us they were very happy to be able to interact with customers from the moment they take a seat downstairs. Customers stated they don't even see the need for a consultation room anymore. You can still use these spaces if discretion is needed; the Nature room is quite popular for such uses because it has a relaxing atmosphere.’

The architect’s thoughts

‘Koppes Bouwkunde has worked together with Gispen for a long time. We share the same circular vision. When we come up with a sustainable interior design, Gispen shares its expertise on circular furnishing solutions, specific sustainable upholstery, et cetera. A true co-creation, especially now that we are also collaborating within the GREENE concept, a follow-up project to the 3.0 pilots. In this project, we transform bank branches into GREENE offices in which the business lines of Retail, Mees Pierson and Commercial Clients are housed, reside and work together.’

Rob Bos Architect at Koppes Bouwkunde

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To be continued…

Bart adds: ‘ABN AMRO has decided to continue with this concept. In the meantime, the concept has evolved into a new initiative called 'GREENE', which we will roll out within a select group of bank branches. In creating GREENE, we mostly focused on how to connect with the largest group of customers who visit our branches. Koppes Bouwkunde, ISSOS, Gispen and Zwartwoud have certainly provided us with the expertise and inspiration needed to realise this in Amstelveen!

 

Photography: Zwartwoud

Products included in this project

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