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It’s not every day a client asks for a jukebox and bar area for their employees. But then First Rand Bank is no everyday client. 

One of the biggest banks in South Africa, First Rand needed to move to a smaller space to cut wastage and bring its workforce together. And what better way than with a bar and table-tennis area?

But the bank still needed to maintain its serious side. So the look had to be contemporary and functional, using glass, dark wood and good quality furniture. It was also important to maximize the available natural light. One of the remits was to bring the teams together and so where there were previously only huge boardrooms, Morgan Lovell created different spaces for different uses, including more informal ad-hoc meeting spaces, a data centre and a kitchen accessible from both sides.

The clients were impressed that Morgan Lovell remained in budget but built the design as pitched. The lower ground was where the team’s creative forces excelled, says designer Michelle Carr: “As a company they had a really good social policy, with drinks on a Friday afternoon. We designed the lower ground floor as a bar-cum-lounge area to encourage staff to eat lunch and breakfast, adding a pool table and jukebox. We also introduced a window and light feature in the comms room.”

The feedback from staff has been excellent and First Rand employees agree that the new office has contributed to a renewed feeling of team spirit.

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