ABSA, a leading South African bank with a network of 900 branches and 12 million clients, chose architectural firm Allen International to devise and develop an innovative “test lab” branch in Johannesburg’s Clearwater Mall shopping centre.

This “test lab” will be a place to prototype new technologies and solutions to create a more interactive client environment and to experiment with new ways of banking. By creating different ways of purchasing and using banking services, such as Exclusive Banking, Retail Consultants and high-traffic Transactional banking, Allen International has been able to offer a fully client-focussed concept store.

The main space inside the bank is devoted to promotional activities, involving the clients and introducing the banking group’s sponsorship and communication activities. The branch also offers a range of innovative services such as Quick Service Enquiries, interactive touch screens and a 25 metre LCD video wall used to display all of the bank’s digital communications.

In collaboration with Reggiani, Allen International has provided a lighting solution designed especially for the project. Topping off the design and the modern approach, the decision was made to install lighting which was both innovative and efficient.

The lighting project fulfilled the requirement to illuminate different spaces spread over two levels:

On the ground floor the cash desks, the reception area, and counters and desks for transactions and private consultations.

On the mezzanine an area reserved for more exclusive clients.

The lighting for the various spaces was tailored to suit the activities carried out in each area, and the light source selected was the 16W 3000K RE LED Luce with CRI 90.

Bisio adjustable recessed luminaires were used to illuminate the graphics on the walls of the reception area, while the general lighting was supplied by UNISIO luminaires with fixed optics.

A different and specific approach was needed for the exclusive client consultation area on the mezzanine: the lighting system used, UNISIO 4x16W, includes four 16W LED bulbs with COMFORT optics to prevent dazzling the client and the operator, creating a more relaxed atmosphere and a more diffused light.

For the service area reserved exclusively for banking personnel, the decision was made to use SPLED, another LED luminaire with fixed optics but this time with a more restricted aesthetic impact, to allow significant financial savings without compromising on efficacy and performance.

In order to respect the client’s brief, the RE LED Luce solution was employed throughout, capable of ensuring a high colour rendering index, excellent performance and reduced energy consumption, for overall financial savings calculated over a five year period.

Thanks to this innovative approach and the extremely cutting edge design concept, the project won the Design Award 2013.

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