Citizens bank: A wholesome banking experience

The Project:

Citizens Financial Group, Inc. is one of The US’s oldest and largest financial institutions. Having 1200 branches spread across 14 states, they occupy a lot of retail space that requires design work to stay modern, welcoming, and in line with the business direction.

There has been a recent switch from the business moving from a traditional banking focus to one that can provide financial and investment advice, business services and more. With this move they were wanting to create a space that better represented their wider ambitions and innovation that they look to provide.

Renovating the Citizens Center City Philadelphia bank branch was viewed as a first step in displaying the work that can be done with their retail presence. If done correctly, it could provide a template for future branch developments across their operations. There was a heavy focus on ensuring that this space was developed in a way that promoted an inclusive space for people of all backgrounds to feel welcomed. 

The team at Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (BCJ) were tasked with designing the new look branch with high expectations of this project. This location was previously a retail mall with 6,000-square-foot of space to work with. 

Working with spaces of this size requires efficient design to ensure a comfortable and efficient environment for all the occupants. As a result, having high quality acoustics that not only provide auditory performance, but also improve the overall aesthetic styling is crucial.

The Process:

Autex Acoustics national sales manager, Justin Siegel, worked on this project and was the point of contact bridging the work done by our New Zealand based design team, BCJ and Citizens. Our team was tasked with bringing to life two major design elements that would be the feature pieces of the space. This consisted of creating the large ribbon wall and acoustic panels within the office spaces. 

Working in different hemispheres meant this project relied heavily on communication from both our product designers and the project team. Regular meetings helped ensure that the key requirements and themes were present in the final product. Both pieces required a high level of coordination to ensure that the detailed designs met Citizens expectations.

Feature Ribbon Wall with Citizens logo:

Creating this aspect of the project involved a keen eye for detail and a lot of patience. Talking to our product designer, Sean Stirling, he mentioned that due to the nature of the repeating slatted design and size of the piece, it would be very clear if anything in the final install was inaccurate. Frontier™ was selected for this piece due to its wall mounting capabilities and customizable nature. 

There were no flat sections on the selected surface area of the branch and so the standard mounting methods would not work. On top of this, the Citizens logo needed to be created as a negative space and the relative Frontier sections made to be suitable for mounting on a thinner material. 

Behind these negative spaces are digital screens that project textures through the logo. What this meant is that the Frontier sections creating the negative space had to be removable. This would allow for maintenance access to the screens projecting the textures.

However, this section of the project is not the only area that we worked on. We were also involved in implementing the design for the acoustic panels within the office spaces.

Office Acoustic Panels:

Office Acoustic Panels:

Intricate designs were created from Cube™ acoustic panels. Each shape was designed to add aesthetic detailing to a plain space while limiting sound reverberation.

Talking to product designer Ellen Sorkin, a key part of the design process involved efficiently fitting these shapes into a 4 x 8 foot sheet of Cube. Doing this reduced the amount of waste created cutting out the final designs.

Both the ribbon wall and office acoustic panels provide crucial acoustic properties to ensure this space has the right sound quality, while adding simple aesthetics through detailed design.

The green color predominantly used on the ribbon wall and sporadically throughout the office space panels, was customized to fit the needs of Citizens brand. This helps to create a sense of nature, catching the eye without overwhelming the working space.

The Result:

The final result in this project was a seamless outcome with subtle details. Justin Siegel said, “this is one of the projects I have the most pride in and is as close to the design intent as we can ever come”. It is important to mention Justin's contribution to achieving this level of work, as he was pivotal in the coordination of both teams from design phase to the installation process.

For Citizens the impact has been widespread. Seeing the combined results of this project, their team decided to use it as a base for their next renovations. Creating environments that can replicate the warm welcoming nature of the Philadelphia branch is a crucial part of their wider business plan.

Our team was really pleased with the outcome of this work. Seeing the hours they spent on sorting the finer details of the project, translated into functioning pieces of art is a great feeling. 

“This was one of the most satisfying projects in my time at Autex encompassing coordination between the BCJ project design team, installation teams, and Autex’s internal design & production teams. The extraordinary efforts from both Sean Stirling and Ellen Sorkin and high level of engagement with the project design team ensured flawless execution of BCJ’s design concept becoming the focal point of the customer’s high profile space”

- Justin Seigel - Account manager

Carbon neutral products and operations

Sustainability has been part of who we are for decades. Every day we base our actions around how we can reduce our impact to create a better world for generations to come. That is why we are proud to announce that we are carbon neutral in everything we do. This is a first in the interior acoustics industry as we have reduced and balanced carbon emissions from business operations and products to zero.

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