Chaabi Bank, Westminster

Client:   Chaabi Bank du Maroc
Value:    Confidential
Status:  Planning

Following a detailed historical and cultural investigation for a prominent Moroccan Bank, the redesign of this shopfront and entrance lobby for the clients UK Head Office on London’s Edgware Road draws upon the architectural traditions of late nineteenth century shopfronts typically found in the Borough of Westminster, whilst also presenting a cultural and contemporary face to the bank. The design seeks to restore the elegant proportions typically found in buildings of this period, whilst introducing a pattern of arched profiled mullions to frame the opening. The lobby behind this has been lined with a bespoke bichromatic ceramic tile lining, inspired by detailed geometric design and floral arabesques commonly found in traditional Moorish architecture. Brass internal doors, pendant light and trim provide jewellery and accent to the lobby space.

Contextual Street Elevation of the Edgware Road

An extensive historical study of the building and its original features, and how these have changed over the years, underpins the design work and ensures that the proposal sits respectfully within the context of the Edgware Road. The design intention is for the scheme to act as a catalyst for a more respectful approach to shopfront design in the area, responding in an appropriate manner to the late nineteenth century buildings, the details of which remain visible above the street level.

Key to the brief was the enhancement of the Client’s brand. We looked at a number of existing shopfront precedents within the Borough of Westminster that successfully achieved this through the use of high quality materials and sensitively executed detailing.

The client was keen to retain their identity as one of the leading Moroccan Banks. Our approach to this was to investigate culturally significant uses of Moroccan materials and decoration to influence the design and highlight the bank’s heritage and roots. Inspired by detailed geometric design and floral arabesques, commonly found in traditional Moorish architecture, we developed a bichromatic ceramic tile design that could be used to line the lobby of the bank and provide a contemporary reference point to these strong traditions.

The axonometric demonstrates how the proposal for the shopfront is made up of a series of layers that are inserted into the existing building fabric. The internal ceramic tiled entrance lobby provides a culturally significant sheathing that is visible to both passers-by and customers. The outer layer is a contextual response to the location, responding in terms of layout and proportion to both the building above and the Edgware Road as a whole.