Barclays has opened the doors of its new, high-tech flagship branch on London’s Piccadilly Circus, designed by The One Off and architect Aukett Tytherleigh.
The One Off was appointed in July, after winning a pitch against Imagination and Checkland Kindleysides, according to managing partner Adam Devey-Smith.
The consultancy has created a suite of interactive tools for the branch, which opened yesterday, including a 12m-long, 4.5m-high installation, Being: London, that allows customers to access information from listings magazine Time Out.
The installation also conjures ‘emotional maps’ of London, using cookies that crawl blog sites tracking emotional keywords such as ‘love’, ‘warmth’, ‘hate’ and ‘excitement’.
‘This is a generosity piece from Barclays, and one of the most complicated pieces of work that we have ever done,’ says Devey-Smith.
Barclays is billing the outlet as the ‘first brand concept bank branch in the UK’. It claims to have drawn inspiration from retailers such as Nike and Apple to create the brief for the store.
‘It is like a transition from IBM to Apple in terms of branding – like a softening,’ says Devey-Smith.
Barcays claims that the branch is the first in Europe to offer Microsoft Surface-enabled tables, allowing users to manipulate digital content with their hands.
Downstairs in the branch, a collection of digital picture frames animate when customers approach them, offering financial advice.
When the branch is closed its facade acts as a screen, using face recognition technology and cameras to project images of passers-by, to which it adds thought bubbles containing random messages.
The 750m2 outlet occupies the former Burger King site located directly beneath the iconic Piccadilly Circus lights.
‘We have embraced innovative technology and design, which we expect to attract the interest of the Piccadilly community,’ says Barclays chief distribution and product officer Mike Amato.
The branch also contains design concepts – such as screen-less counters and a design statement queuing system – that were piloted earlier this year in Manchester and are now being rolled out across city-centre branches.