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A progressive and contemporary space, that promotes knowledge sharing while celebrating the brand’s Japanese heritage, values and culture.




London, UK






Workplace Occupier


183,000 sq ft

Occupying three floors at 100 Liverpool Street, SMBC’s new EMEA HQ challenges the pre-conceived notion of a bank’s workspace. The design thinks differently about the future of work, creating a progressive and contemporary space that promotes knowledge sharing while celebrating the brand’s heritage, values and culture.

The idea of ‘connectivity’ led the design concept inspired by the traditional bridges in Japan and SMBC’s long history of connecting Europe and Asia. The design blends London’s work culture with Japanese influences to deliver an environment which promotes teamwork, collaboration and progressive working practices by moving away from assigned desks and segregated spaces. A variety of seating styles from communal tables, touchdown benches, focus pods and quiet rooms are arranged within neighbourhoods without barriers to create fluidity and to provide the users with choice. A central café, flexible forum space for events, training facilities, tech bar and a wellness zone offer a range of environments that go beyond the traditional workplace and encourage communities to come together.

The floorplates are anchored by two atria positioned to the east and west which punctuate through the three floors. This has created a flexible auditorium space for 200 people with an interconnecting staircase inspired by the Japanese art of origami. These key anchor points are fundamental in forming exciting destinations which invite employees to flow organically between floors, permeating dynamism and energy through the heart of the business. An open, light and welcoming client suite sits on the upper floor, offering a variety of meetings rooms and a flexible events space.

Subtle references to Japanese art and design are captured through the use of materials, textures and architectural forms, creating a design aesthetic that is understated yet elegant with meticulous attention to detail.