ING Direct, an Internet division of the Dutch banking and insurance conglomerate ING Group, desired to build cafés that could attract both new customers as well as serve existing ones. As an on-line bank, the café would satisfy the need for a "bricks-and-mortar" consumer street presence. The cafes would draw existing and potential customers into an upbeat space where individuals could learn about the company and access their account information.
The design sought to introduce a major brand presence into the café experience and to create a unique image and fresh design model. The design was conceived as a "kit of parts," a vocabulary of flexible design elements that could be used universally. The design vocabulary consisted of three primary parts – cube, ribbon, and node – which were developed to accommodate various programmatic requirements such as serving counters, Internet and phone kiosks, and graphic messaging walls.
The design's bright orange color palette directly reflected the bank's corporate colors and was applied in large, graphic patterns. As a device for modulating the linearity of the space, orange bands of rubber tile were applied to the floor, wall, and ceiling in areas where the key activities of café and Internet kiosks occur. Down the center of the space, an acrylic wall was designed for large-scale brand messages that can be changed periodically. The existing façade was kept intact except for the addition of two orange elements: a large applied graphic circle (an icon of the brand) and a metal canopy. The façade's existing metal panels were also painted orange and house the identifying brand signage.
"The realization of an on-line identity in the built environment is captured through a creative use of materials, playful elements, and the brand color. It's fun, playful, and targets a younger on-line generation through corporate identity design."
Robin Klehr Avia, FIIDA (Principal in Charge), J. Bricker, P. Wang, G. Okshteyn, L. Lishimachio, B. Novitsky, T. Silverstein, J. Simet, A. Kamins, J. Wittnebel
Thompson + Sears (Lighting), Corporate Interiors of Delaware (Furniture), MGJ (MEP Engineer)
ASI Modulex (signage), Color-X (graphics)