Royal Bank of Scotland
The Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS), one of the oldest banks in the UK, has had a presence in downtown Houston for 24 years. This office’s recent restructuring into two distinct departments necessitated an increase in their square footage needs and a relocation within the building.
RBS asked DMJM Rottet to design an office environment that could maintain the identity of both department groups while creating a collaborative communal space for them to share. They also asked that their branding be reflected in the new office.
The design team’s solution was to create a glass “box within a box” to house the collaborative areas for conference rooms, visitor offices, administrative assistants, and an entertainment bar. The designers added floor to ceiling glazing and dramatic skyline views to reinforce the feeling of a floating glass box.
As the plan developed, the design team took advantage of natural light and visual connections to the city landscape provided by RBS’ location on the 65th floor. The office was penetrated with shifting wall planes and materials that guide light through the space and always allow the viewer a visual relationship to the city. The distinction between floor, wall, ceiling, and furniture became blurred as the materials wrap and fold to create these surfaces.
One of the interesting challenges was how to brand the company’s identity and heritage into the design of the space. The designers chose to use the concept of pattern and grids as in a tartan plaid to create texture and interest. There are also subtle hints of Scottish tartan that can be seen as an accent on the custom bench and as incisions in the walls above the workstations. A custom carpet for the reception area was designed to incorporate the distinct colors in RBS’s logo.
RBS is known for its heritage and solidity but also for its creative strategy and impeccable work style. RBS’s new office reflects the company’s commitment to providing an inspiring office environment for their employees and guests. Every morning employees gather at the entertaining bar, front and center in the space and are inspired by the views – the most common phrase has become “I could live like this”.
The unique space has won 7 design awards and was featured in Interior Design Magazine’s October 2004 issue. The project’s awards include the 2006 National AIA Honor Award for Interior Architecture, the 2007 Texas Society of Architects Design Award, the 2006 Solutia Doc Award, the 2005 AIA-Houston Honor Award, First Place in Commercial Office Design in the 2005 ASID Awards, the 2005 Commercial Award of Merit from Architectural Record, Best Office Design from the 2005 Paper City Houston Design Excellence Awards, and the Commercial Award of Merit from the 2005 Prism Stone in Architecture Awards.