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Could the latest ING bank interiors compete with co-working and cafés ?

No more grey counters, weak coffee or impersonal welcomes: ING is responding to the banking sector’s digital revolution by offering clients high hospitality and a space to work.

With so much of the banking process now happening online, the Netherlands’ largest bank decided it needed to accommodate visitors differently. Together with Creneau International, ING conducted thorough research into the potential ways clients could interact in the ‘bank of the future’. Wanting to make the experience warmer and more welcoming – in terms of both service and aesthetics – they arrived at a model that looks far more hospitality hotspot than traditional bank. At ING La Vie in the Dutch city of Utrecht, classic counters are abandoned. After waiting in the coffee bar, clients can use open ‘workbenches’ for staff-guided self-banking. The range of consultation spaces runs from open to semi-closed to private, depending on the need. Staff offices are barely discernible from the public spaces in a bid to become more human and transparent.

ING’s brand colour is bright orange. Rather than slap the corporate palette here, there and everywhere, Creneau subtly integrated it into the scheme. The result, say the designers, is a public space that feels like a private space. ING La Vie Utrecht – the 18th renovated ING office in a worldwide roll-out – includes a partnership with flexible workspace provider De Stadstuin. Their combined goal of having young entrepreneurs meet and work within the space is a clear move to not only compete with hospitality offerings but with co-working companies, too.


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