Sberbank, Moscow: Cultural Change to Activity Based Working

Sberbank, the largest bank in Russia and Eastern Europe, has transformed its traditional office model to an open, transparent and activity based workplace. Swiss architecture and design studio Evolution Design was responsible for the design and the development of the new workplace concept over four floors in its central Moscow headquarters.

Reception Area Green. Photo: Leonid Somov

Reception Area Green. Photo: Evgeny Luchin

The newly designed workspace was just announced winner of the ‘Best Agile Office’ in the Best Office Awards 2018 and also received the Grand Prix Award 2018 for the best office out of 120 projects.

The background

Sberbank requires flexible workspaces as its work style involves creating adaptable crossfunctional teams with changeable personnel and without a pronounced vertical hierarchy. The size of each team may vary depending on individual projects and so workspaces need to be easily adapted to suit the required number of participants.

Reception Area Turquoise. Photo: Evgeny Luchin

Reception Area Turquoise. Photo: Leonid Somov

Another challenge facing the architects was the scale and labyrinth layout of the building. Each of its four floors is 7,500 square meters and accommodates approx. 650 people. Originally designed to house apartments, each floor was divided into many compartments – a solution that met fire regulations, but did not meet the needs of a modern open office or enable the free flow of people in the space.

Reception Area Green Co-working. Photo: Evgeny Luchin

Reception Area Green Co-working. Photo: Leonid Somov

Smart design solutions

Evolution Design divided each floor into four main zones, which share a central communication hub at the heart of the office. The hub is formed of a large multifunctional meeting room, a library for quiet concentrated work and two kitchens surrounded by informal seating areas.

Homebase Workspaces and Reception Area. Photo: Evgeny Luchin

Homebase Workspaces. Photo: Evgeny Luchin

Workstations are based along the outer ring of the building beside the windows, to make the best use of daylight and ensure comfort for staff. To prevent employees from being disturbed by continuous circulation across the space, a ‘room in a room’ concept was designed to be inserted between the workstations and building core. These custom-made rooms function as space dividers, separating working areas from the main circulation, but also include alternative workspaces such as small meeting rooms for brainstorming and stand-up meetings, open diner-type spaces for individual conversations, and single rooms for private phone calls or more focused working.

Room In A Room And Office Space. Photo: Evgeny Luchin

A co-working area was designed as part of the communication hub, featuring high tables with a whiteboard surface for brainstorming ideas, soft seating diners that are perfect for conversation, and bar counters along the facades of the building offering panoramic views across Moscow.

Large Meeting Room Classic Typology. Photo: Evgeny Luchin

Meeting Rooms. Photo: Evgeny Luchin

Each floor also has a playful design feature, for example, a real SberJeep with a built-in PlayStation for a break from work or a modern version of a yurt, decorated in the style of the Alpine chalets, for cosy informal meetings.

Meeting Room Soft Bench Typology. Photo: Evgeny Luchin

Meeting Room High Table. Photo: Evgeny Luchin

Small Meeting Room Photo Evgeny Luchin

Simple and intuitive navigation 

The size of each floor required a simple and intuitive navigation device, so each of the four main zones features an individual colour and graphic theme to aid navigation and differentiate the zones. Different tonalities of the main colour are used on floors, walls and dividing furniture to further support navigation.

Coffee Point. Photo: Evgeny Luchin

Communication Hub Games Zone. Photo: Evgeny Luchin

The architects also used bold graphics to create an individual look and feel for Sberbank. Meeting rooms feature themed wall graphics and privacy strips, ranging from bright patterns that energise creativity to photography designed to foster calm during meetings.

Quiet working Library Typology. Photo :Evgeny Luchin

Large Project Room. Photo: Evgeny Luchin

Outstanding results

The office is light and bright and has a feeling of openness that is enhanced by outstanding views overlooking Kutuzovsky Prospekt and the Moscow City complex. The diversity of working and meeting areas available motivates staff to change their working space during the day, stimulating a natural flow of employees, encouraging spontaneous meetings and information exchange along with giving the working day more flexibility and creativity.

Communication Hub Informal Meeting. Photo: Evgeny Luchin

Since introducing agile working principles, multi-disciplinary teams are working more effectively without a pronounced vertical hierarchy, delivering innovative results and faster, more flexible, turnaround on projects.

Communication Hub Pantry. Photo: Evgeny Luchin

The new Sberbank office establishes a new architectural identity for the leading financial institution in Russia and Eastern Europe along with providing a comfortable and stimulating working environment for its employees.

Feature Accoustic Ceiling. Photo: Evgeny Luchin


Client: Sberbank of Russia

Location: Moscow, Kutuzovsky aveny 32

Total area: 24’000 sq.m. (258’333 sq.f.)

Number of floors: 4 floors (9th, 10th, 16th and 17th)

Capacity of staff: 2’200 people

Project Planning: January 2017 – August 2017

Project Construction: February 2017 – December 2017

Design and Construction

Interior Architect: Evolution Design

Project Team: Tanya Ruegg, Ekaterina Kozhevnikova, Natalia Maciejowska Paul King, Balazs Götz, Ksenia Wittwer

Project Manager: SB Development, Russia

 General Contractor: Amtek, Russia

Photography Evgeny Luchin and Leonid Somov

Interior Architect: Evolution Design



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