Founded in 1992 by Michael Allen, allen international is a strategic design consultancy with a head office based in London, UK and regional offices in Bogota, Singapore and Dubai.
The practice strives to be a world leader in financial services for strategic branding, retail design and the digital customer experience, by creating cost-efficient design solutions that are built on robust strategies.
As a global practice, allen international has worked with more than 400 clients around the world, from the UK to Mexico, Saudi Arabia and beyond. Clients include State Bank of India, Petrol Ofisi, Santander Select and Bank of Ireland (BOI) – a client that allen international has worked with quite recently.
“If we don’t deliver the unexpected, we will only disappoint,” is the exact approach the company undertook when delivering the latest editions to the BOI branch network. The projects included sites at Dublin City University (DCU), Galway and South Docks, Dublin.
For the Galway and South Docks Branches, allen international were asked to help modernise and redefine the Bank of Ireland in-branch customer experience, by providing a physical environment that both engages the customer with the brand’s national positioning, whilst simultaneously connecting on a more personal level with their local needs.
The branches are built upon the strategic concept of the ‘Gateway’, an architectural feature developed by allen international. This architectural feature creates a digital portal to the BOI brand, as well as the individual branches’ local tailored offers.
When it came to the Dublin City University project, one of the key drivers for the scheme was to build a strong brand loyalty amongst students, whilst also focusing on new account openings. The practice was therefore tasked with developing a retail bank design concept that could create a bold statement, presenting the offer in a simple yet dynamic way: ‘To be the trusted financial guide on campus and beyond.’
The overall look and feel of the design at Dublin City University takes on a stripped back aesthetic, with a palette of polished concrete and bleached wood, as well as a simple clean graphic style which creates a warm and relaxed environment. The design supports a more contemporary and relevant style for the brand and one which BOI wish to extend beyond the campus.
More recently, allen international has been involved in the new Virgin Money Lounge on Haymarket. The lounge – the sixth Virgin Money Lounge – opened in August and was designed to provide customers with a comfortable and informal lounge for all their banking needs.
allen international Innovation Director, Richard Benson, comments:
“It has always been our ambition at allen international to create a lounge experience within the banking sector that is accessible and brand focused. Virgin Money has once again made this possible with their foresight and vision to launch an experience that challenges traditional preconceptions of the relationship between bank and customer.”
Situated just a short distance from Piccadilly Circus, the new Haymarket Lounge takes the Virgin Money customer experience to a whole new level. The entrance offers customers the chance to ‘lounge’, watch TV, or browse through a range of Virgin Money information on a huge interactive touch screen display, whilst at the same time offers full banking facilities to customers in a strikingly designed bank area.
When customers descend to the lower ground floor, there is a very strong chance they will forget they’re in a bank altogether, as the space showcases an airliner-themed interior – taking a nod from Virgin’s aviation history. Real airliner seats, overhead lockers and floor lighting are just some of the design highlights, with generously-spaced seats arranged in a cinema style fashion. The theme also extends to a children’s playroom, which is equipped with a range of traditional and interactive games.
In addition to traditional banking facilities, the Haymarket Lounge plans to use technology that enables customers to hold real-time video conferences with specialist advisers in other Virgin Money locations – including sessions to enable an advised mortgage application to be completed as well as lifestyle financial reviews.
allen international Founder & Group CEO, Michael Allen, comments:
“Once again Virgin Money leads the way with innovation. It’s a joy to work with a bank that has a vision of the future which is not tied down to traditional thinking in this time of new technology and the omni-channel experience.”
All of allen international’s projects, no matter which country they take place in, are shaped and delivered with a deep understanding of the local market, ensuring successful working relationships and satisfied clients.
For more information about allen international, please visit: www.allen-international.com.