New Zealand Home & Building, October-November 1985
An "At Home" Feeling
An "At Home" Feeling
It is the kind of place that trendsetters at Auckland's pub "The Exchange" might frequent, and one look at the long, pink panelled counters may bring back memories of a sophisticated wine bar, but the National Bank branch at 177 Queen Street, Auckland, is a stunning example of matching design with location.
"Nothing much had been done with the bank's interior design since it was opened in the 60's," said Graeme Scott of Coleman Gibson Architects. "You know the usual: golden brown carpet and officers' desks in the front window. The National Bank came to us with a very simple brief. They wanted something in keeping with an up-market, mid Queen Street location and a much younger banking customer."
Today, there is no doubt that the change has been noticed. Customers coming into the branch often comment on its extraordinary wool carpet. Dominating the floor and the colour scheme of the branch, it is a major example of innovation in interior design. First there are squiggles of pink, black and teal, then there are the dashes and surrounding them are squares of rose and a myriad of blue and green dots, all floating on a background of conservative grey.
Graeme was inspired by the International Wool Secretariat's Micro Mystique Trend Collections last year and designed a carpet for the project that was later produced by Bremworth in 100% pure new wool. "I did the sketches and worked with the chief designer at Bremworth to get the final design for the 45 ounce Axminster. It's so amazing to be able to have your own carpet design produced that it would be a shame not to. Carpet is one of the key elements of any interior, so it is worth putting time in to get it right. And since the carpet manufacturers make up contract orders specially anyway, why not use the opportunity!"
The 120 square metres of wool carpeting are used not only on the floor, but also on the walls and covering the front of the counters. It is National Bank's policy to use wool in corporate interiors and this matched Graeme's appreciation of natural fibres.
Ever wondered what to do while your friend does her banking? This Queen Street branch of the National Bank is the first to use a domestic setting of couch and chair as a waiting area — a popular spot with customers. The furniture is covered in 100% pure new wool upholstery in teal, pink and rust. Fabrics are by Maurice Kain.
Graeme still manages to laugh describing the weekend demolition and rebuilding of the branch. Work started as the doors closed on Friday evening, the carpet was installed on Saturday morning and the furniture delivered Monday before banking hours began. "According to the plan, the bank counters should have been completely constructed ahead of time, but whatever goes according to plan?" he said.
The banking area is outfitted with a long, black vinyl counter top. Space for the stamps and tools of the tellers are disguised by curved pink box-like dividers. The front of the counter above the carpeting is trimmed with stainless steel, with studs reminiscent of safe doors.
The branch at 177 Queen Street is Coleman Gibson's second project for the National Bank.page breakpage break