BNP Paribas, Dublin

For their new Dublin headquarters, BNP Paribas appointed local architectural practice, MOLA Architecture along with furniture provider, Bushell Interiors.

Icons of Denmark worked closely with both MOLA Architecture and Bushell Interiors to deliver furniture solutions aligned with the design and client’s requirements, functionally and aesthetically.

Located in Sandyford south of Dublin’s city centre, the new office sees 400 staff come together from three locations around the Irish capital.

The BNP Paribas office in Dublin, with 4T Room Division and Booths

Derek Kehoe, BNP Paribas CEO, Head of Country Ireland, spoke to RTÉ to explain that the relocation of the offices coincides with the general return to offices following the pandemic. He hopes that the move will help their cultural shift into a more flexible working policy. Stating,

“We believe we are the first in the financial services sector in Ireland to complete the reconfiguration of our real estate footprint and were the first to accommodate the return of all staff to an office setting, albeit a new, more flexible setup. It was important that we took all key learnings from the pandemic to support our culture and new ways of working, helping to create a greater work/life balance for our colleagues. It’s not an understatement to say that the pandemic has redefined how we operate as an organisation”.

Paul Finnegan, one of MOLA Architecture’s lead designers and Dani Henderson, our Icons of Denmark A&D Consultant for the UK/Ireland worked together to find the optimal solutions, to represent MOLA’s vision and the clients needs. The brief specified a flexible, preferably modular solution, with a quick lead time, that supported the daily activities of BNP’s modern workplace. The plans presented the Icons 4T system, using screen dividers and booth seating configurations to offer privacy without exclusion, and encourage team collaboration in open meeting spaces with the use of magnetic writing boards, pinnable acoustic panels for presentation and booths for team huddles and short meetings.

The 4T System room division with planters for added biophillic design and the 4T System booths with Bank sofas

MOLA designed a selection of configurations for the 4T System, specified throughout the floorplan. Each one designed to fit the look and feel of the space, whilst offering a creative solution to zoning and partitioning the open office space. By using 4T, MOLA were able to offer a reconfigurable, and agile alternative to what would otherwise be bespoke joinery, or fixed partition walls – neither of which can be dissembled, redesigned and repurposed from BNP’s office should they choose to relocate to a new space in the future. The project showcases a perfect example of how 4T can adapt and grow to suit the criteria of the client and their space.

The 4T System is a scalable kit of parts, designed to divide space, create privacy without isolation and provide creative solutions for the activities encountered in the modern workplace. Whether the space requires room division, flexible seating options or functionality with the use of writing boards, pin boards or acoustics the 4T system provides an integrated and innovative solution.

Within the open plan layout at BNP Paribas, the 4T System was used in place of joinery and permanent partitioning. Separating the desking areas from the breakout spaces, 4T ceiling-mounted screen dividers are visualised across the office plan. Each configuration is fitted with a considered combination of Kvadrat upholstered acoustic panels/pinboards and magnetic whiteboards, allowing staff to use the 4T System for presenting in the open hot-desking space on one side, whilst on the reverse, the system provides acoustic benefits to those seated at the banks of desks behind.

The 4T System room division with whiteboards, planters and Kvadrat upholstered panels

Surrounding the hot-desking and breakout spaces, MOLA also included 4T booths for the team to break away from their desks for huddles and short meetings. Fitted with Bank tables, and Bank sofas, the booths are positioned in floor to ceiling windows with the aspect overlooking the Irish Sea. Finding a booth system that didn’t compromise or obstruct the view was crucial to the design, the profile of 4T booth framed the outlook whilst the telescopic ceiling posts were able to accommodate the varying elevations across the office and recess’ next to the windows.

One of the challenges Icons faced was meeting the short delivery timeline of six weeks, this included delivery from production in Denmark direct to Dublin. For MOLA, selecting an ‘off-the-shelf solution’ was the best option, and the 4T system was an obvious choice. Not only in terms of achieving the tight project deadline but also, from an economical perspective to the client, MOLA was able to offer significant savings to BNP Paribas by using 4T and reducing the bespoke joinery package.

Reconfigurability was key to the scheme for the team at MOLA. BNP Paribas had requested an economical and in turn, sustainable solution for the new fit-out. Not only did the system replace permanent architectural layouts which are often costly, but it has also provided the opportunity for BNP Paribas to reconfigure, grow and develop the system as their business does the same.

4T System room division to separate two areas of hot desking.
The 4T Booths overlooking the view towards the Irish Sea

Dani Henderson comments “It was an absolute pleasure to work with the team at MOLA on such an incredible project. We’ve delivered several projects in collaboration with MOLA, but the scale of BNP Paribas Dublin is by far the largest and most impressive. In a fairly short period of time, we pulled together a selection of SKP visuals for the 4T system and mapped them on MOLA’s floorplan. We then went through 3 phases of value engineering, altering the aesthetic and functionality of the screen dividers, swapping oak veneer panels, for black metal panels and finally opting for fabric upholstered acoustic panels to coordinate with the scheme of the space and BNP’s brand colours.

During a trip to Dublin this April, Jay and I had the privilege of experiencing the finished project. We hosted with MOLA on-site and later enjoyed a full tour of the HQ. It was a proud moment for us, as it was evident that 4T was fundamental to the design and interior architecture. This project has set the bar for businesses introducing new and innovative ways of working in a post-pandemic climate. By using modular furniture in the scheme, MOLA have delivered a space that awards the ability to adapt and change to suit the needs of BNP and the team in Sandyford, whilst also offering a solution with an infinite lifecycle which is sustainable in terms of both cost and environmental impact. It was great to be part of this project and see MOLA and BNP’s vision come to life.”

The new office has high environmental credentials including building energy consumption of 30% less than a standard building, 64% green roof to promote biodiversity, a rainwater harvesting system and fitted solar panels to offset energy demand.

If you would like to learn more about how the 4T System can suit your project needs, please get in touch with an Icons representative.

Products used in this project