Central Pacific Bank was formed in response to the struggle Asian-Americans faced, after World War II, to access capital. Over time they grew from serving a hard working under-banked community to be one of the top four financial institutions serving all of Hawaii’s people. We were engaged as part of a digital and physical transformation for the organization to better serve their customers and expand their reach. The initial project was to transform their main branch in downtown Honolulu. This required the development of a temporary branch to continue to serve their customers while they renovated the main branch and was part of a larger renovation of their downtown property.
Working with our partner, Inver Consulting, and with some initial influence from the local designer and local historian, Keola Rapozo, we proposed to approach the temporary location as a concept store and lab. The intent was to use the temporary smaller branch as an opportunity to introduce some of their new brand initiatives, new customer experience choreography, and in the manner of concept stores to experiment a bit.
To be cost efficient, we developed the design for the final branch in parallel with our design for the temporary location with the goal to re-use a large percentage of the elements manufactured for the concept store in the final branch location. Considering the temporary location is approximately 1500 SF compared to the over 3000 SF of the final location this required some intelligent thinking to maximize utilization of the investment.
Through our initial brainstorms we focused on the indigenous use and meaning of pohaku as a metaphor for the collective building of big great things through singular entities. Experientially we wanted to create a gradated sequence from the entry into the branch—functionally to intercept the customer, engage them, and migrate them to digital solutions; and affectively to increase the density of the space as we progressed further into the branch, kind of like walking from the beach into the woods. We used three pohaku, or stones, to be formal markers in the entry experience that would gradually increase in scale. The three stones each have different functions, but work together to create a gradated experience and lead to the new engagement bar.
As we progressed in the design we worked closely with our manufacturing partner, Boyce Products, on how to create the stones and intended effect, while maintaining a realistic budget and ensuring the elements were durable and sustainable. Other than the stone that contains the digital hardware, the other stones are mobile and can be moved about the space. This flexibility is key for the testing of the new experience choreography, and also allows for adjustments based on traffic densities.
The concept branch opened its doors in March and soon after had to limit traffic due to Covid-19.