For over 200 years, the British financial services company Schroders has maintained a trusting tradition of expertise in the asset management sector. Translating this legacy and standards while providing an inspiring space aligned with its sustainable and human-centric values was at the core of the mission that Studio Banana embraced for the design of Schroders Geneva site.
After 50 years of presence in this Swiss city, the firm was looking for a new location distilling excellence through a future-proof design and an elegant aesthetic integrating different clients’ and users’ needs.
A brand-new space that translates Schroders’s legacy into high-quality experiences offering understated sophistication with a caring, personal touch to host their clients; while ensuring wellbeing conditions and agile working dynamics for its employees to collaborate.
Throughout the different atmospheres and textures, the workplace embodies the firm’s sustainability vision as a leading player in the impact investment sector combined with a local touch inspired by the nature surrounding Geneva. As part of the client’s ambitions to provide optimal working conditions to its staff, the project is Fitwel certified.
Ideation & design
Following the insights obtained from different interviews, town halls and focus groups, we identified the main needs and translated them into key drivers that would guide us in the design process.
The new two-floor workspace would provide different flavours of Geneva’s surroundings through the integration of look-alike textures and colours, local materials and a bespoke design for the clients’ comfort and for staff to work, socialise or relax.
The client area
Inspired by Lake Geneva and its vibrant water patterns, the reception incorporates glass partitions and mirrors evoking the reflection of the lake helping amplify the space.
The six client conference rooms –designed to offer high-quality standards and a personalised service to guests– combine warm materials, blue tones and the latest audiovisual technology seamlessly integrated in the architecture.
Art pieces on the wall have been commissioned to the local artist Joëlle Cabane, whose particular painting technique applies indigo ink grown by herself to promote a more ecological transition within this practice.
The working area
Flex desks and agile meeting rooms offer a wide range of work settings carefully designed to integrate a diverse and inclusive team.
In line with Schroders’ corporate look and feel, the chromatic and materials on this floor create a contemporary and welcoming environment. On the walls, modern photography pieces re-interpreting elements of nature by Swiss emerging artist Alicia Dubuis offer an acute sense of composition and colour.
The cafeteria –the exclusive place for staff to socialise and relax– brings a peaceful atmosphere inspired by the iconic Parc des Bastions. With an outdoors terrace enjoying privileged views to Lake Geneva´s Jet d’eau, this area incorporates plenty of warm and soft materials, abundant greenery and flexible furniture.
While the ceiling includes timber slats to improve the acoustics, the combination of enamelled tiles, natural felt and glazing on the walls provides a pleasant 3D effect sensation.
Through the use of finest, honest materials such as wood and carefully-crafted metal panels, the signage of the project takes inspiration from Schroders’ values of trust and liability, with proportions evoking the Golden Ratio found in nature.
Thanks to an effective change management process, in which we kept the stakeholders engaged and informed about the different design decisions, construction stages, potential risks and how to embrace the new behaviours and work dynamics, the final result offers an outstanding transformation of the working habits. After moving in, a survey was conducted among employees revealing a 91% satisfaction level; demonstrating that good design paired with user engagement leads to delight.
Schroders new workplace successfully overcomes the challenge of balancing the requirements of a global brand with the preferences and needs of local users. The design provides an improved experience for both visitors and employees aligned with the firm’s mission of building future prosperity in a sustainable way.