How the need for confidentiality impacts workspace design direction
RATIO wrote this on Jun 27, 2017

Workspaces for banks, credit unions, law offices and wealth advisory are amongst those who require confidential space.  So, how to design for confidentiality in this era of open-plan workspaces?

The American Society of Interior Designers’ (ASID) ICON magazine explored the issue of designing for confidentiality through dialogue with 4 designers including RATIO partner, Christopher Pollard.

The challenge is:

“How do law firms, judiciary offices, and financial institutions—places that value confidentiality above almost all else—address design issues like office layout and acoustic and visual privacy? And, how do they incorporate these needs into the image they want portrayed to their clients?”

Key is understanding client values. Designing for flexibility. Creating space with visual and auditory privacy.

From Christopher Pollard:

“We work towards a deeper understanding of our clients’ values, identifying what is important to their customers,” notes Pollard.

“An explicit understanding of the overarching nature of what the organization is trying to achieve, i.e., its ethos and mission,” says Christopher Pollard, principal of Vancouver, British Columbia-based architecture, interior design, and planning firm, Ratio, “and the specific objectives of the project at hand are the key considerations to be addressed at the first meeting.”

From Designed for Confidentiality, page 50ASID ICON magazine May/June 2017 issue 

 These tips from  Designed for Confidentiality:

“One size does not fit all—get clients thinking about different levels of confidentiality.

Involve needed acoustical or security consultants in the design process from the start.

Keep in mind that the greater acoustical concern is between offices, not the corridor.

Don’t let necessary security concerns and technology interrupt the aesthetics of a space.

Find unique ways to promote relaxed interaction between your client and their customers.”


Download a PDF of the article: ICON Designing for Confidentiality – May_June 2017


The RATIO team has provided architectural, interior design and planning services to credit unions and other workplaces for over 50 years.


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