VMLY&R Commerce UK Rips Up Rule Book For Banking Retail Design

Tbilisi Business Centre (TBC Bank)—post-Soviet Georgia’s leading bank and top five love brand – has unveiled a new design concept created by VMLY&R Commerce UK and strategic brand consultancy type.  Launched in capital city Tbilisi, the new design will roll out across 139 branches nationwide.

Eschewing current financial retail design which borrows heavily from non-business sectors such as shops, clubs and homes, the “ready for the future of business” concept refreshes the banking sector. “We call this approach Bank+ to encapsulate the idea of banking in an open and democratic way”, said Richard Hartle, creative director, VMLY&R Commerce UK.

TBC branches are invited to localise an overarching look and feel for their specific local communities with a new modular design – tearing up the traditional  rigid “one look” rule book. 

In this spirit, the adaptable design sees local Georgian designers such as George Bokhua decorate interior walls with street art with powerful colour statements. Furniture and fittings are lighter, mobile, and tactile, with flexibility to adapt to future new products and services including customer co-working space; after-hour events; new digital hubs.

Customer shared spaces are bright, energetic, and welcoming, with natural materials and light colours. Digital walls and screens feature localised content, while custom-designed desks and Arper furniture deliver functional comfort. 

Wayfinding and graphics are linked to the TBC app – neatly referencing the digital progression TBC is spearheading with customers. Softer colour palettes with modular offer a warm and welcoming experience—all underpinning TBC’s new vision “Making People’s Lives Easier”.

Culture at the core of the brief

Since emerging from the Soviet Union collapse, Georgia has navigated independence and emerged as a youthful, forward-thinking nation characterised by dynamic architecture, design-led cafés and a vibrant literature and arts scene. This was core to the TBC Bank brand refresh and the retail design brief.

Triggered by culture transformation and rapid changes in customer behaviour, Georgian society and politics and, the financial services category itself. TBC launched a new brand vision “Make People’s Lives Easier” with new brand values: freedom and human.

As a result, VMLY&R Commerce UK was challenged to think beyond look and feel, to consider how the brand behaved in its physical space.

Specifically, to transcend commerce and genuinely make people’s lives easier. The space needed to harness the new TBC brand position and offer new services with less formality, more openness and relevance, and greater empathy.

Richard Hartle concluded: “Despite the move towards digital platforms, we believe bank branches will continue to play a vital part of our future. People’s desire for human banking will not change. This is where the flexibility of our spaces holds a key role -with warm and welcoming experiences both digitally and physically.”

Source: VMLY&R Commerce UK

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