Hana Financial Group isn’t just building a new HQ—it’s out to remake the company’s workplace experience from the ground up. Forget the locked-down look and feel of many financial services firms. The company’s new office in Incheon, South Korea is being designed as a light-drenched, open space filled with greenery—a direct reflection of just how much the pandemic has changed the way people live and work.
Collaborating with U.S. architecture and design studio NBBJ, Hana Financial is putting the focus on not just the 2,800 employees who will work there, but also potential job candidates as well as the surrounding community. With the company’s decision to move out of central Seoul, the new digs could play a critical role in helping attract talent and build stronger ties to the so-called Hana Dream Town.
And that vision is driving project decisions, from the overall design to the choice of materials.
To give employees a renewed sense of agency about where and how they work, for example, the team is incorporating indoor and outdoor workspaces, including private alcoves and outdoor terraces. “Community stations” are meant to give employees a place to meet with and be mentored by leaders—a connection constrained during the pandemic.
But the building’s statement piece is the large and open lobby, where the team is eschewing cold stone and opting instead for carved and rounded wood in light tones.
“The intention is to look softer, more open and more welcoming,” Robert Mankin, NBBJ’s partner in charge of workplace design, told the Korea JoongAng Daily. “Usually financial institutions are very grand, they use stone, because they are permanent … [but] that can be very cold and unwelcoming.”
To further foster that sense of community, the team will include a glass observation deck for social activities and nighttime experiences—making the building a destination during the day and at night.
Adding an element of biophilia to foster wellness, designers will include a 12-story public ribbon park that will loop its way up the building, dotting the environment with green space and pedestrian pathways. Sculptural landforms, plazas and a lower-level atrium will offer workers the chance to take a break (or a breath of fresh air) during the workday. And windows—that actually open—will ventilate the building and allow greenery and plants into the space to enhance employee health.
“We believe that through workspace design, employees can leave the office feeling better than when they arrive, that the office isn’t just a place to work, it’s actually a place in which you can be restored,” Mankin said.
Construction of the headquarters is set to begin this year, with completion slated for 2024.