The financial services industry is changing, evolving, and sometimes even repeating history. The baseline fact is that you must keep up with the current industry happenings.

Check in often to read snippets of the latest trends and read our take on each one.


Years ago, I interviewed at 2-different places within days of each other.  The first literally had NO windows in the entire place, the interior was antiquated and dark, and the employees were library quiet.  At the second place, I could see outside from almost every room in the building.  The lighting was bright and the colors were cheerful.  And the employees smiled.  When it came time to decide on which job, I wanted to work at the place where everyone seemed happy.

Gensler Research Institute explains in a recent study that buildings should be designed to create an experience.  And experiential design has become the norm.  A better design equals a better experience, including six significant factors:  beauty, novelty, authenticity, clarity, inspiration, and sense of welcome.

Our design team recognizes that “every place and space today is ultimately competing on the experience it delivers.” That includes office space, as well as retail and financial centers.  When you walk in, your experience begins.

Although it’s considered the latest “trend,” it’s good practice to create space that can be multi-functional, flexible, and adaptable.  According to Gensler’s study, a key finding is that “everyone is doing everything, everywhere” – ultimately, it’s important to take stock of the space you have and how it is being used.

Click here to check out Gensler’s Research Institute.

One of the most all-encompassing trends happening within the past few years and touches all aspects of design is biophilic design – mimicking natural elements and forms, and specifically for interior spaces, bringing in natural elements, including plants (and lots of them!), natural light, organic shapes, and natural materials into a space.¹ Not only does this create a beautiful backdrop for retail and workplace offices, but numerous studies show that it has a positive affect on overall health, productivity and mood in general.  It has also been linked to increased creativity due to visual stimulation, workplace well-being, and staff retention.²

The vibrant green associated with plants and the outdoors creates an innate response within people as a connection to nature and, in turn, has a calming effect.³ Additionally, the human eye is drawn to fractal patterns, which are present in forms of nature, such as tree forms and branch patterns.  There is evidence that the unconscious observation of aesthetically pleasing shapes and fractal forms in interior spaces has a stress-lowering effect on people.4

Productivity and restored focus have also been linked to breaking your gaze from the computer screen for even a few seconds to look at plants – and companies like Google, Etsy, and many more are finding that employees are happier, more creative, and working harder in a biophilic-centered space.5

Think about your retail area….your offices….your meeting spaces.   Does it engage, enliven, and de-stress your clients, members, and employees?  If not, incorporating biophilic design ideas and elements can help create the space you want.

by Jenny Sweeney, Interior Designer

  1. Lohr, Virginia I. “What are the Benefits of Plants Indoors and Why Do We Respond Positively to Them?” 2010.
  2. “Biophilic Office Design: Bringing Nature into the Workplace.”
  3. “How can workplace design cut stress levels?” 10.09.19.
  4. Taylor, R.P. Reduction of physiological stress using fractal art and architecture. 2006. Leonardo 39:245-251
  5. “What is biophilic design, and can it really make you happier and healthier?” 04.11.19.

Look around. Everyone is focused on their phone. There is no doubt that multimedia screens have had an impact on our daily lives. Companies seeking to win customers’ attention need to engage them beyond what they can already do on their phone or tablet. Simply introducing screens into a retail space isn’t enough there needs to be a compelling reason to interact. The branded experience should strive to combine digital convenience and the products or services they provide.

Referenced case studies:

Audi’s VR showroom
The experience of buying a car no longer starts at the dealership, with consumers typically researching via websites, social media, and motor forums. In 2017, Audi launched a virtual reality experience in global showrooms to offer a more personalized CX.

The VR experience allows consumers to configure their dream car, as well as explore the car’s exterior and interior in realistic detail. The experience also includes special ‘Audi moments’, such as the Le Mans 24-Hours race, whereby users can witness the pit-stop atmosphere.

Through VR technology, Audi is able to offer consumers a dynamic and interactive buying experience, transferring the process from a digital tablet to something much more immersive.

Nike’s Speed Shop
In 2018, Nike opened a flagship store in New York City called the ‘Nike House of Innovation 000’. As you might expect from the name, it’s pretty impressive, including digital elements to create an immersive and highly convenient experience for shoppers.

Alongside customization studios and instant checkout points, a stand-out feature of the six-floor studio is the ‘Speed Shop’. This allows customers to reserve shoes online to try on in-store. More specifically, customers can arrive (through a dedicated entrance) to find a locker with their name on, which can then be unlocked via their smartphone.

Mobile check-out is also available, meaning customers do not even need to speak to anyone (let alone stand in a queue) if they want to buy the shoes in question. The ultimate in convenience shopping.

Both examples leverage multimedia technology to provide consumers with an experience they can’t readily get elsewhere. Audi uses VR to incentivize customers to come into their show room, rather than just using the online car builder from home. This allows them to better cater to their customers’ needs and guide the impression of their new products. Nike built a showroom around their online presence, turning it into something customers won’t get through a typical shoe store. They’re combining a branded, bespoke purchasing experience with the ease of online ordering.

The goal is to create an immersive experience that’s integrated into the physical, retail space; to introduce customers to the brand and their products through new experiences and a higher level of convenience. These new experiences provide moments to physically connect with customers in meaningful ways; something that can’t be achieved through a phone screen. In this way, the specific multimedia technology used is less important and can be updated as it quickly changes in the future.

by Brandon Eckhart, 3D Visualization & Concept Development