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Sofia, DA Architects, Minko Minev

Interactive bordure: Bank branch in Sofia by DA Architects

Following its renovation, the flagship branch by DA Architects no longer makes the impression of normal banking premises. A combination of form and function has given rise to an interactively usable space that will not be easily forgotten.  A circumferential strip in green in reference to the corporate colour  of the bank restructures the space and skilfully integrates important functional units, such as automatic telling machines, info points, video screens, and so on.  This leaves the rest of the space free for consultant's desks and scattered upholstered stools.

The upholstered green strip forms a circumferential and   prismatic ally articulated niche in differing heights and depths. Waiting areas and a service counter among other things are integrated into the strip, while the required technical equipment is skilfully concealed behind the white, vertically aligned lamellas  that clad the long sides of the room above and below the green strips. Both the white lamellas and green panels absorb sound and help improve the acoustics – a necessary measure in view of the lively shopping mall.

The consultant's desks set in a staggered arrangement have polygonal shaping like the green strip, giving them a sculptured look. Their surface in smoothly polished stainless steel contrasts with that of the upholstered wall panels. Customer data can be retrieved at a screen integrated into the top of each desk and capable of being folded back to lie flush with the surface.

The rear, more peaceful area is used as a private consultation room, and is divided off from the rest of the branch by a glass wall. The two glass panes that make up the wall have a film of liquid crystals between them that reacts to electric voltage, enabling the glass wall to change in appearance from transparent to milky in a matter of seconds: when it is opaque, the crystals are in a disorganised state; when an electric current is applied, they reorganise themselves and the glass becomes transparent again within seconds.

The DSK Bank and DA Architects refer to the daringly designed new branch as a sort of pilot project.

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