Bank’s stylish makeover aims to ‘stir national pride’ with chic café appearance
Standing to change the public face of banking, a Warsaw branch of Bank Pekao has earned plaudits in the design press following a dramatic facelift that has seen it humanised on account of an intimate but future-forward design.
Coined by architects at Schwitzke Górski, their vision has seen the branch at Marszałkowska 89 dramatically transformed via an interior more redolent of a chic, urban café.
According to the studio, their project was guided by the need to appeal to all cross-sections of the public: “The project identified specific zones that were responsible for various functions (for example, the entrance, an activity zone, children’s area, meetings rooms, etc.), which, taken as a whole, would demonstrate the friendly aspect of the facility to various groups.”
Continuing, they added: “The concept that was created was based on values such as ‘Polish-ness’, community, and developmental support, which in their complexity connect generations, correspond with trends, distinguish agency and dynamics, and, above all, evoke positive emotions.”
Bathed in as much natural light as possible, this light, airy aesthetic has been underscored further by a muted colour palette – but though high on neutral tones, these have been given vibrance through the generous pops of pastel pink shades and flashes of red.
Fashionably trimmed with exposed pipework and bare concrete, these subtle industrial touches have been carefully offset by rich outbursts of greenery.
This, says Izabela Kutyła, creative director at Schwitzke Górski, is fully in line with the studio’s ethos: “Interior design, particularly when it comes to commercial spaces, should promote and also reflect the elements of sustainable development and tradition,” she said.
“Ecological trends that we noticed in previous years will also be cultivated in 2023, paying special attention to their impact on environmental protection or reducing carbon dioxide emissions in nature.”
In this respect, the branch’s futuristic look has been seamlessly integrated with an overarching concern for the planet.
“We focused on the future,” Kutyła said, “but also the naturalness of the materials we used; these were guided by the idea of sustainable development and emphasized the importance of environmental responsibility.”
As a result, natural finishes have been preferred with several elements made from recycle raw materials.
To this end, carpets have been partially produced using recycled materials whilst ‘wood wool’ was used in the ceiling panels.
Also making generous use of plywood – known as one of the most environmentally friendly materials – the aim was to reflect not just the bank’s social responsibility, but to also signpost its commitment to embracing smart solutions: both socially and tech-wise.
Moreover, the project has also sought to celebrate Polish design with many of the fittings and furnishings produced by local firms. However, this has not been the only nod to Poland itself.
Inspired by the country’s nature, the design has sought to specifically express these glories with consultation offices handed names such as Mazury, Baltyk and Biesczady.
“We wanted to find a common narrative that connected Poles and that also stirred their national pride,” say the studio.
“The Polish landscape was the perfect way to combine this into the office.”