Breaking down barriers
Lambeth Council’s customer service centre was out of date and far too small for the number of local residents that it served. The brief was to provide an open-plan flexible space that allowed proper face to face contact between customers and staff, replacing the habit of trying to communicate effectively through a dividing glass screen.
Engaging with the community
A more accessible and collaborative environment was immediately created by the removal of physical barriers between customers and staff.
The building was extended by creating a new glass entrance lobby which allows natural daylight to flood in and reinforces the feeling of open-ness. A central open-plan space provides a re-configured public waiting area, community meeting rooms and staff accommodation, alongside a bank of self-service terminals. In all, 992 square metres of contemporary space provides high quality facilities to support the local community, as well as state of the art workspace for the council teams.
A bespoke furniture system was designed for the varied service desk requirement, including branding and internal graphics. Materials were selected from a modest palette, reinforced with accent colour, controlled graphics and video screens.
Following the opening of the facility, Lambeth Council reported a major improvement in customer satisfaction levels. Waiting times were dramatically reduced as customer-staff communication and morale improved.
The Customer Service Centre has been used as a template for other Lambeth facilities, including the furniture we designed.
Shortlisted World Architecture Festival