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Designed by Zurich based international design firm NAU Architecture in collaboration with studio Drexler Guinand Jauslin, the interior of the Open Lounge connect the history and the rich cultural past of the building by exhibiting portraits of the most prominent past residents in the walls – made out of Solid Surface HI-MACS® with a highly technological process.
Raiffeisen’s flagship branch on Zurich’s Kreuzplatz dissolves traditional barriers between customer and employee, creating a new type of “open bank,” a space of encounter.


Advanced technologies make banking infrastructure largely invisible; employees access terminals concealed in furniture elements, while a robotic retrieval system grants 24 hour access to safety deposit boxes. This shifts the bank’s role into becoming a light-filled, inviting environment – an open lounge where customers can learn about new products and services.
This lounge feels more like a high-end retail environment than a traditional bank interior. Conversations can start spontaneously around a touchscreen equipped info-table and transition to meeting rooms for more private discussions. The info-table not only displays figures from world markets in real time, but can be used to interactively discover the history of Hottingen, or just check the latest sports scores.

SOLID SURFACE FLOWING MEMBRANE WALLS

Rethinking the nature of client - customer relations, the design represents a prototype for a bank where money is not the only consideration. Cast instead as an urban lounge, the atmosphere is open and light with hints of a high-end boutique. The main characteristics of the space? The inspiring walls made out of HI-MACS® with a highly technological process.

Elegantly flowing walls blend the different areas of the bank into one smooth continuum, spanning from the customer reception at the front, to employee workstations oriented to the courtyard. The plan carefully controls views to create different grades of privacy and to maximize daylight throughout. The walls themselves act as a membrane mediating between the open public spaces and intimately scaled conference rooms.
Developed with the office Rippmann Oesterle Knauss specialized in digital fabrication, portraits of the quarter’s most prominent past residents like Böklin, Semper or Sypri grace the walls, their abstracted images milled into HI-MACS® using advanced digital production techniques. While intricately decorative, the design grounds the bank in the area’s cultural past, while looking clearly towards the future.

“We selected HI-MACS® for various reasons; first, we were requested to use a 'nearly non-combustible' material with an excellent fire rating value; second, we were looking for a high-tech material with warm feel; third, we needed a material that we could CNC-mill as well as bend for the curved parts” say the architects.
The flowing walls were possible thanks to the solid surface’s properties, with almost the same strength as stone, can nevertheless be worked with and fabricated in the same way as wood. The chosen shade was 12mm panels of HI-MACS® Alpine White using the latest in computer-driven milling techniques (CNC) for the fabrication process, made by expert HI-MACS® fabricator Rosskopf & Partner in Germany.
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