Out with the Old, In with the New! – Amoda Ratnayake Associates

The design for the new Corporate Banking Unit for Nations Trust Bank (NTB) proposes a transition from the previously favored, traditional, closed, and introverted office design towards a flexible, open, and more “responsive” working arrangement. The new design facilitates accessibility and is conducive to a collaborative, energetic working environment for both employees and customers; aimed at creating a more positive working atmosphere compared to conventional banking headquarters, inspiring new initiatives, with a modern, easy-on-the-eyes outlook to boot.

Talking to Amoda on focal elements of a space, she shared that when creating a corporate office space, the primary element or focus element is what creates the first impression on someone who walks into the designed space. The concept of creating an open work environment, encouraging teamwork, casual interaction, and communication was so successful that NTB challenged Amoda and her team to push those ideas further, “NTB wanted a ‘new way of working for the Corporate Banking Unit “, said Amoda. In response, together with her team at Amoda Ratnayake Associates (ARA), they revamped the space with a concept that challenged the typical notion of an “open office”, integrated with amenity spaces contributing to the well-being of the employees.

With an area of 4500 sq ft, the design of the new Corporate Banking Unit took two months to complete. Located in the heart of the bustling metropolis that is Colombo, ARA wanted to mix and blend the city vibe into their design; translated through city graphics and (elegantly) messy ceilings, the energy of the space communicates with you before you enter the main office. Further, the use of industrial ceilings and the play on lights to transmute a ‘busy city vibe’, adds to the overall ambiance of the office. The team used NTB’s corporate colors for the interior of the office – to enhance the identity of the brand within the space. Given the limited space, ARA created a multi-purpose “chill-out area” to function as a casual interaction space as well as a more relaxed collaborative, mini meeting space. 

ARA is the team behind iconic office spaces such as the Sri Lanka Institute of Technology, Seylan Bank, MOQ Digital, Ceylon Tobacco Corporation, Zmessenger, and Incee Cement. Every single project executed by Amoda and her team at ARA is a joint effort; everyone gets together to share ideas, participating as a family from start to finish – until the project is completed and handed over to the client. Including construction, there were a total of 50 people working on the project – ensuring quality work. It is noteworthy that ARA received immense support from the client (NTB) to ensure the project was completed seamlessly, within the timeline.

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