Interview with designer allen international (ai), regarding views on design, and for the award-winning design The Lab Bank Branch.

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Interview with allen international at Tuesday 15th of April 2014: DI: What is the main principle, idea and inspiration behind your design?
ai : We wanted to develop a design for Allied Irish Bank that would challenge peoples preconceptions of what a financial space is.

DI: What has been your main focus in designing this work? Especially what did you want to achieve?
ai : It should inform and educate customers on the most convenient ways to carry out their daily banking, but also showcase and deliver the brand's products and services in an engaging and easy to understand format. It has never been about utilising technology for technologies sake but rather integrating the latest most appropriate digital technology to deliver the vision for the store.

DI: What are your future plans for this award winning design?
ai : The main focus of this branch is as a 'LAB - Lear About Banking, and therefore some/all of the positive aspects from the design will be rolled out across the branch network in the future.

DI: How long did it take you to design this particular concept?
ai : 3.5 months from concept through to implementation

DI: Why did you design this particular concept? Was this design commissioned or did you decide to pursuit an inspiration?
ai : Allied Irish Bank approached allen international and Accenture to create a totally unique concept store which would provide a learning and research environment focused on enabling customers to get the most from their current and next generation banking services.

DI: Where there any other designs and/or designers that helped the influence the design of your work?
ai : allen international worked in conjunction with Accenture

DI: Who is the target customer for his design?
ai : The Allied Irish Bank clients and all Irish public interested in Learning About Banking

DI: What sets this design apart from other similar or resembling concepts?
ai : This concept is totally unique for the banking sector but borrows look and feel elements from retail eg the Apple store

DI: How did you come up with the name for this design? What does it mean?
ai : The LAB = Learn About Banking

DI: Which design tools did you use when you were working on this project?
ai : All Mac based software.

DI: What is the most unique aspect of your design?
ai : The Mobile Banking Zone – mobile banking table with interactive screens and devices, showcasing mobile banking services, and an internet banking booth as well as The Product Zone – AIB’s partnerships with other technology brands via an iconic interactive digital product table and Emerging Technology area.

DI: Who did you collaborate with for this design? Did you work with people with technical / specialized skills?
ai : We worked closely with Accenture

DI: What is the role of technology in this particular design?
ai : It is of paramount importance as it is a digital branch.

DI: How did you decide to submit your design to an international design competition?
ai : We've entered these particular awards in the last 2 years and have been very successful