Fintech Fusion in Geneva, Switzerland came to Studio Banana with the challenge of designing a bespoke workspace for a vertical accelerator that specialises in fintech startups.
We needed to find the perfect balance between a professional feel that would inspire confidence in investors and adhere to the strict codes of the banking sector, while also creating a modern, fresh, dynamism to foster innovation among entrepreneurs.
We brought together both intimate and multi-use common spaces to serve a diverse community of members, startups, entrepreneurs and private institutions, while also keeping to a design aesthetic appropriate for banking, technology and business professionals.
Each of the accelerator’s six unique spaces features intricate graphic design work that showcases the cryptographic patterns found in Swiss banknotes. This gives each space its own identity under the united concept of financial security.
The environment promotes a unique collaborative culture where influential fintech events can be hosted and sponsors can enjoy a high level of visibility.
Embracing a new age for a world-leading financial centre
While Geneva is known worldwide for its long history in the private banking sector, its banks have faced the same challenges as their global counterparts in recent years: the disruptive emergence of financial technologies.
Fintech Fusion was born in a time of profound transformation, offering a demanding 12-month incubation programme to boost fintech startups from all over the world and increase their chances of succeeding in the market.
Ideation & Design
Codesigning with experienced incubator experts
In order to transform the 650m2 jewellery workshop into a radically different space for fintech startups, we approached the project using our proprietary codesign method. This meant gathering stakeholders, managers and other individuals with solid incubator experience to share their insights with our design team.
Once we obtained a thorough understanding of the complex and diverse needs of those who would be using the space, we applied an “activity based environment” principle to best employ our findings during the architectural planning stage.
An elegant fusion of collaboration and professionalism
With an exciting but complex project ahead of us, we developed a strategy to create a dynamic, versatile space for Fintech Fusion. We designed an environment flexible enough to host a wide array of activities and specific user needs in harmony. These adaptable areas allow for workers to take meetings, calls and brainstorming sessions without distracting those looking to get on with some quiet work or host a presentation in front of investors.
The main lounge area can just as easily serve as a reception or breakroom as it can a place to hold an all-hands meeting or conference. The cafeteria is the social heart of the incubator and promotes an informal dynamic.
Looking for a fluid circulation flow, we avoided corridors altogether in favour of an open plan that encourages collaboration and makes better use of the space.
Blending security patterns with simple design principles
Once we had squared away the architectural plans, we needed to make sure the space stood out with a unique yet meaningful look and feel.
Our team got to work researching Swiss monetary culture and developed a visual story based on anti-counterfeiting features found on the country’s banknotes. This not only lends an elegant, memorable, characteristic aesthetic, it also makes up part of the wayfinding system and enriches Fintech Fusion with a strong identity. We chose to pay special homage to the eighth series of Swiss banknotes (one of the safest in the world) designed by Jörg Zintzmeyer, in which we discovered a valuable spatial metaphor in their cryptological patterns.
In each of the six banknotes of the series (10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 1000), we found unique patterns and colour palettes which we used to create six distinct spaces in the incubator. Each one has its own name and graphic identity, informed by the iconography of each bill in a subtle yet sophisticated way.
Giving beanbags and table football the boot
We knew from the outset that Fintech Fusion is no typical startup incubator. The decor and furniture needed to reflect an inspiring environment where both professionalism and innovation would thrive, while still being functional and useful for the people working there day to day.
Our team added a few final touches to the project, rigorously searching for the perfect designer furniture to match the spirit of the project and bring the space to life.
One space bringing together two distinct cultures
Thanks to our codesign technique, we were able to unravel the complexity of creating a workspace for Fintech Fusion’s vertical accelerator. We designed a space that met diverse user needs in a single space by taking a multidisciplinary approach to architecture, graphic design, and wayfinding.
The result is a space that continually inspires the entrepreneurs working daily to develop tomorrow’s fintech solutions while also providing a fresh businesslike environment that financial professionals appreciate – all in one common identity.